This Week’s Reviews
- Monk’s Blend from Tea Era
- 2007 Licang Wild Arbor pu-erh, loose leaves (raw) from Ya-Ya’s House of Excellent Teas (thank you, Jo, for this free sample with my order!)
- Assam from Two Leaves and a Bud
- Jasmine “Dragon Pearls” Green Tea from Tea Vivre (thank you, Angel, for this free sample!)
- Tie Guan Yin from Bigote Ecuador
- Yue Guang Bai Cake sent over from China by my brother
- Peppermint from Two Leaves and a Bud
- Assam from Two Leaves and a Bud (yes, again)
- Bolder Breakfast from The Tea Spot
- Mangosteen Superfruit Tea from Good Earth Teas
- Pancake Breakfast Black Tea from 52Teas
This week’s featured review is of a company, not just a single tea. A month or two ago, I took a trip down to visit some family in Arizona. One day, while waiting to meet up with my brother, I decided I wanted a cup of tea. I saw a cafe that, along with fine coffees, advertised having fine teas on their sign. I took this as a good sign and headed in. It took me a full minute to find the tea at all. It was tucked away in some back corner along an aisle that clearly no one went through except to maybe head to the restroom.
The tea was displayed in the boxes on a rack, and every box had a layer of dust on it. I was intrigued, however, by the brand. It was called Two Leaves and a Bud. I hadn’t heard of them before, so I picked up one of the boxes and read what they had to say about their tea. From just a moment’s perusal, it became clear that this company really knew what they were talking about. They knew tea and they took pride in their products.
Since I already knew I wasn’t a great drinker of green teas, I decided to get one of the greens on display so I could try it out. When I finally got the attention of one of the people working behind the counter, I first asked what they knew about the tea company (since they were new to me, but clearly these people had chosen this tea for a reason). The woman sort of shrugged, looked confused, and said, “We tried a number of teas and this was just the one we liked the best.” She said it with something of a question in her voice.
I was disappointed but went ahead and ordered anyway. I go up to pay and after another moment, my tea is ready… in a manner of speaking. I’m handed a take-away cup (not even asked if I’d like a mug to stay) where the tea bag (one of those nice pyramid bags, though) is all the way at the bottom of the cup with the string and label and all. I grab the cup and my hand is practically burned, the water is so hot. I had to take it to a table and immediately fish out the tea bag with a spoon, due to the clearly waaaaay too hot water for green tea. It took another 5 minutes of just sitting there periodically blowing on the tea for me to even try it… and it is disgusting. Though it is obviously at least somehow related to how they made it, not necessarily the tea.
Just a day after I posted my horror story on Steepster, I receive an email from the Marketing Coordinator of Two Leaves and a Bud. She is scandalized by my experience, asked if I remembered the name of the place so she can educate them in how to prepare tea, and apologized that I couldn’t try their tea properly. She asked if she could send me some samples so I could prepare them correctly and get a real feel for their tea.
Needless to say, I am impressed with the company! Not only was my first impression of them positive, after looking at the boxes they sell their tea in, but their immediate follow-through to ensure that all their consumers get the real experience of the tea.
I did receive a package of tea samples to make up for this (in addition to an extra box of more varied samples to review as a blogger!) and proceeded to try their teas. In the best of times, I’m skeptical of tea in bags, even if they’re in pyramid bags… but Two Leaves and a Bud gets around that concern and simply produces delicious tea. They put just the right amount of leaf in the bags that it can expand fully and not be really constricted. And I have yet to find a tea of theirs that I am less than satisfied with. (Perhaps their Darjeeling is my least favorite so far, but still a good tea, by all means.)
Long story (not) short, I asked for a banner from this company so I could add them as a Featured Vendor on my Links page. They have not only shown me excellent understanding of tea and produced tasty teas for me to enjoy conveniently, but they have demonstrated phenomenal customer service and true pride in their products!
At this point, I just sort of consider them to be my go-to brand for when I travel and am unable to carry along my loose stuff.