Yesterday I met some friends at The Rendezvous with Tea for a tea tasting. I was there five times in 2014 [and blogged about those visits], but this was my first time to return in 2015. Naszreen, the owner, had a tasting in May, but it was while I was in England. Every tea tasting has been a delightful experience, but yesterday's exceeded them all.
I arrived a few minutes early so looked around the shop and took some photos. Pictured below is the retail area at the front of the shop.
Naszreen's son, Kareem, has been in the shop assisting his mom during previous visits, but today was the first time her daughter, Sabrinne, was there. They allowed me to take a photo them.
Naszreen was born in Sri Lanka, and recently returned from a visit with her daughter. She brought back Noritake porcelain elephants [pictured below] to put loose tea in for gift giving. What a unique idea. I've never seen them before, so one came home with me.
The table was set up at the back of the shop for the tea tasting. There were seven participants - including a young man, Brian, who is an avid tea connoisseur. It was so nice to see a young man enjoying tea. He's a MSU grad, and said many of his peers are tea drinkers too.
* We began with three different grades of Lover's Leap black tea that Naszreen brought back from the Pedro Tea Plantation in Sri Lanka. It was freshly processed. I apologize that I was so into the tasting that I forgot to take pictures of the individual teas.
Lover's Leap is a very special single-estate leaf. It gets its name from the legend that two lover's [a prince and his damsel] leapt off the precipice to their death because the King wouldn't allow his son to wed the maiden from another castle. To this day, every drop of water that cascades down the rocks is a eulogy to their undying love.
 Orange Pekoe A grade [OPA] - Leaves were longer, and the liquor was light brown in appearance. It had a slight vegetal taste which is unusual for a black tea, but Naszreen said that's because it was so fresh and hadn't been sitting long. It was the mildest in taste of the three grades - the larger the leaf, the milder the flavor.
 Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe [FBOP] - A little stronger than the Orange Pekoe A grade.
 Broken Orange Pekoe [BOP] - Strongest of the three - robust. A splash a milk might have helped give it a smoother taste.
* Royal Wedding Tea blended to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate. It was a blend of African, Indian, and Chinese black teas flavored with bergamot, vanilla, rose petals, and natural flavors.
The rose is the national flower of England, and dates from the reign of Henry VII who introduced the Tudor rose, combining a red rose, representing the House of Lancaster, and a white rose representing the House of York, as a symbol of unity after the English civil wars of the 15th century, which came to be called the Wars of Roses.
Light floral smell because of the rose petals. Mild floral and vanilla taste. Very smooth, and no aftertaste.
* Ginseng Oolong - light green in color, and lovely taste.
* Green Genmaicha - Japanese Sencha with fire-roasted rice. Very delicate taste, with the flavor of the roasted rice coming through nicely.
* White Ginger Orange Peach - the dry leaf smelled wonderful, and it had a lovely aroma after steeping. The taste was delicious. This was my favorite of all the teas, and I purchased 50 grams.
* Black Superkiwimelonicious - It sounds like a song from Mary Poppins, ;-) but means kiwi is super delicious - and it was! The word melon is included because an early marketing name for kiwi was 'melonettes'.
* 1600 Pennsylvania - Red, White and Blue. Naszreen had this tea blended specifically for her shop. It is Pai Mu Tan white tea with cherry, rose, strawberry and raspberry for the red, and blueberry and blue mallow for the blue. The dry leaf had a wonderful aroma. It was served cold, and was very good. I bought 25 grams. This tea would have been perfect for my Jackie Kennedy Onassis presentation.
Photo before 1600 Pennsylvania was added to the cup. The star is frozen pureed raspberries.
Naszreen always serves a savory and some sweets at the conclusion of the tasting. Yesterday's sweets were a delicious cupcake that looked as good as it tasted made with 1600 Pennsylvania tea, and a shortbread with raspberry puree in the center. The savory was eggplant quiche. It was all delicious!
While we ate, Naszreen showed a computer presentation of her trip to Sri Lanka and the tea plantation she visited.
From there we went to lunch at Mack Avenue Grille down the street from the tea shop.
There was an option for al fresco dining, but it was 91 degrees, so we opted for indoor air-conditioning! Everyone else did too, as evidenced by all the empty tables.
Each of us ordered a different salad. Mine was Chicken Oriental with Sesame Dressing.
It was delicious, but we were all full from the food we ate at The Rendezvous With Tea that we asked for carry-out containers. My hubby was happy to eat mine. ;-)
Below are my purchases from The Rendezvous With Tea. Thanks for a wonderful tea tasting, Naszreen!