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Teahouses in Portland

This post provides impressions of four teahouses in Portland, Oregon. I visited Enthea Teahouse in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Portland, Smith Teamaker on SE Washington Street, and Tea Chai Té in Sellwood. I also spent an afternoon at the teahouse operated by The Tao of Tea inside the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Wide-angle shot of one of the rooms inside Enthea Teahouse. There are cozy upholstered wooden chairs, tea tables with gongfu teaware, and a fire place.
Inside of one of Enthea’s tea rooms. Photo kindly provided by Enthea Teahouse.
Blog Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes for 3 Teas from Tea Vivre

This post shares tasting notes for three teas from Tea Vivre. I have bought and enjoyed many teas from them. These impressions, however, are for three teas that they sent me for free. Per my review policy, I had no obligation to review unless I sincerely enjoyed them. I certainly did! Read on for my thoughts on their award-winning 2019 Bai MuDan, their Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Mini Cakes, and their Phoenix Dan Cong.

I appreciate that Tea Vivre offers both gongfu and western-style brewing suggestions on their website. I tend to alternate, as you will see below.


Resist the Cult of Productivity

We need call out and push back against the cult of productivity. Too many spaces promote time scarcity and encourage us to behave as if we were robots. This cult is terrible for our minds, bodies, and creative energies. Two experiences recently underscored how relentlessly we can focus on productivity. This post identifies some pernicious aspects of the cult of productivity. It also shares ways to resist. Calling out inhumane elements of work culture (including those we have internalized) is important. Likewise, cultivating restorative personal practices like intentional tea sessions can help, too.

Sunshine reflecting off glass pitcher of golden tea on a table next to a purple viola
We can resist the cult of productivity.

What Can a Tea Pet Add to Your Practice?

What can a tea pet add to your practice? So many things! I’ll focus on three here, and then share about a special tea pet, Herb the Traveling Tea Turtle, that visited me.

clay tea pet in shape of a ram
Rocco, my first, and so far only, tea pet.
Blog Recipe

How to Make Sparkling Matcha Two Ways

Would you like to learn two ways to make a tall glass of iced and sparkling matcha? A Matcha Fizz was the first sparkling tea I ever made at home. Now that spring is here and summer is approaching in New York, I’m making more iced teas again. I love sparkling teas in particular.

A Matcha Fizz is still one of my absolute favorites for a warm spring or hot summer day. And, it’s easy to make. This post will go over how to make sparkling matcha two ways. It will explain and compare the paste-concentrate method and the direct-powder method. The results actually surprised me!

Glass of sparkling matcha with a paper straw
Matcha Fizz (made using the paste concentrate method)

Story of a Teacup Virtual Event

The teaware nestled our cupboards and on our shelves can evoke memories. They can transport us to other times, places, and people. Sharing those memories can help us better understand and connect to each other in the present, too.

Do you have a piece of teaware—a teacup, for example—with a story that you would like to share? It could be about how that teacup came into your hands. It could be the details of its former life, something that happened when you used it, and so on. If you have such a story, we’d love to hear it! Keep reading to find out more about how to sign up for the Story of a Teacup event on April 2, 2022.


How to Get Started with Loose Leaf Tea

What are the practical considerations to start using loose leaf tea? It’s relatively easy to use once you know a few basics! This post provide advice on how get started with loose leaf tea.

It explores: what to use to steep loose leaf tea, how much tea to use per serving, and how long to steep.

A few of the many options for steeping loose leaf tea.

Try Korean Balhyo Cha Tea for Valentine’s Day

Looking for a pure tea–no flavors added–that tastes of chocolate? I heartily recommend trying Korean Balhyo Cha or Balhyo Cha powder for Valentine’s Day. This tea’s leaves have a wonderful chocolaty note. Prepared a certain way, and without adding any sweetener, the powder has vibes of grown-up, gourmet hot cocoa. Both are delicious!

Balhyo Cha, a fermented Black Korean tea

How Popular Are Tea Bags?

Are you curious about how popular tea bags are? Tea can be sold in many ways–in bags, loose leaf, powdered, in ready-to-drink form, etc. How much is prepared in tea bags, particularly compared to loose leaf? And, I wonder if you will share my shock at two statistics that I discovered! After sharing a snapshot of the data, the end of this post I’ll tell you about an online event for people who use tea bags but are interested in, maybe, exploring loose leaf tea.

Picture of a tea bag, with the string curved into the shape of a question mark, surrounded by loose leaf tea

Tea Mascots

Have you noticed that some tea companies and organizations have “tea mascots?” I am using the term “mascot” loosely. By that, I mean an animal figure used as part of outreach, branding, or to engage people. Three examples immediately spring to mind—Waddy the Frog at the Charleston Tea Garden, Tippi the Tea Mouse at the East Frisian Tea Museum, and Luff (a bison) at Being Tea.