Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tea Tasting at The Rendezvous With Tea

I received an e-mail invitation to attend a September 18th tea tasting at The Rendezvous With Tea, but declined because I was scheduled to be in Savannah, GA on the tea tour [which hurricane Irma cancelled].  While Teresa [one of the tour participants] was still in Michigan following our meet-up at the Royal Park Hotel last week, she visited The Rendezvous With Tea.  When owner, Naszreen Gibson, discovered I was still in town she called to extend a second invitation, and I'm so glad she did. The last time I attended one of her tastings was December 2016, so I was long overdue.

The shop carries over 350 fine teas from around the world, plus beautiful tea equipage.

~ Naszreen Gibson, Owner ~

The set-up area for the tea tasting has been changed, and it's lovely.

Naszreen began by telling us the tea shop is her third child - the first two were biological. ;-) She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 12 1/2 years ago, so she wanted to share tea as a wellness solution.

She introduced six new signature teas to her shop this year [2 black, 2 green, and 2 herbal], and it was so interesting to learn how each tea derived its name.

There were eight attendees - two of which were young women, and one man.  I always enjoy seeing the younger generation interested in tea, and men too because in the U.S. far too many men perceive tea as a "ladies' beverage."  We were introduced to eight teas - 4 blacks from Ceylon [Sri Lanka], one purple tea from Kenya, 2 green teas from China and Fuji, and 1 herbal from her signature collection.

In the photo below, Naszreen is giving her opening presentation.   I was glad to learn that she is now doing library presentations to enlighten library patrons about the many benefits of tea.

We began with the black tea Harangalla, from a tea estate in Kandy.  It's grown at a mid to high level elevation.  

The dry, uninfused leaf was graded as a FBOP - Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.

 I wrote in my notes, very brisk, but good.

The second tea we tasted was Inverness - a single estate tea grown 6000 ft. above sea level in an area of Sri Lanka known as Little England.  It's amazing how subjective teas are to different palates. While I thought this tea was less brisk than the first one, a few of the other participants felt it was more brisk.  I ended up purchasing 50 grams of it to take home, and am enjoying it as I type this post.

The dry leaf was longer and more needle-like.

The third black tea was Halpewattle and had a smooth taste, while the fourth black tea, Rotumba - grown at a lower elevation - had very large rolled leaves.  

Then we moved on to a "Purple" tea - yes, you read that correctly!  We're all aware of the more common teas - white, green, oolong, black, and puerh teas, but purple tea was a new one to me. I should have known about it because I receive The Daily Tea e-newsletter, and they featured an article about it in January 2015, but somehow I missed it.

The leaves on the tea plant are actually purple, and Naszreen steeped it in a clear teapot so we could see the faint purple hue of the brewed tea.  She steeped it at a lower temperature and used fewer leaves, and it produced a mild tea that was quite good.

A genetic mutation makes the tea plants have higher levels of anthocyanin [an antioxidant] which gives the leaves an unusual purple appearance.  It's the same antioxidant that gives blueberries their deep blue color.  Some studies have found the plants are resistant to drought and frost, so purple tea could be an alternative to older cultivars.  It's from the Camellia Sinensis plant and is not a separate category of tea, so the leaves can be processed into any variety.  

Presently it's grown in China, Kenya, Japan, and India.  The Kenyan Purple Tea has taken 25 years to cultivate.  The Japanese Purple Tea is said to be very bitter. You learn something new everyday! I bought 25 grams.  

From the purple tea we moved on to the two green teas - Dragonwell from China, and a Sencha from Fuji.

The last tea was called Relax Blue - an herbal tea made from Chamomile, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Lavender, and Blue Pea Flower which makes it turn a beautiful shade of blue.

At the conclusion of the tasting Naszreen served a delicious homemade savory [Artichoke and Cheese Quiche] and two tea infused sweets [an Earl Grey Lavender Shortbread Bar Cookie] and Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch Ganache.  All were delicious.  I oped to eat mine with a cup of Inverness tea.

Thank you for an educational and delightful tea tasting, Naszreen.  For local readers, The Rendezvous With Tea is located at 20792 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.  


  1. What a lovely review of our tea tasting adventure !

  2. The teas at these tastings always look so interesting! That purple tea is new to me, too, and I'll be on the lookout for it now, I'd love to try it. I'm glad you got to attend this tea tasting.

  3. I am so glad you attended the tea tasting, Phyllis, and that you enjoyed it. It was lovely to see you.

  4. I went there a few months ago, and cannot wait to go back!


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