San Fran Tea is getting prettier by the day, not that we needed much improvement
My neighborhood can be dangerous. A recent bout of warm, sunny weather has me strolling all over the place but it’s difficult to keep away from all the stores located nearby.
I walked to the gift shop Rare Device to find a birthday card for my Mom. They have cards and stationery designed by artists, so I knew I would find something to my liking there. But lo and behold, they also had a really cool tea strainer designed by Kikkerland, called The Tea Tube Infuser. The top is made of wood and the bottom is made of glass with slats to allow your tea to come through. I felt it was my duty to purchase this product and report back to the San Francisco tea community at large. I had a birthday back in August, so let’s call it a belated present to myself! I definitely don’t need any more tea, but the tea infuser needed a companion, the herbal tisane called Sippin’ Pretty, blended here in San Francisco by T-We Tea.
I guess I’m just a sucker for cute products sometimes. The Sippin’ Pretty comes in this white aluminum box and contains two muslin bags in addition to your tea. Ingredients are: nettle leaf, lemon verbena, rose petals, chamomile and spearmint. Aside from drinking you can use the leftover leaves to purty yourself up — instructions are on the box for how to use this as a facial toner, a eye compress, a face mask, a bath and an exfoliant. I assume the muslin bags were included for the purpose of making these homemade treatments, as they seemed a bit large for brewing the actual tea.
I wanted to use the two products together when I got home. On the infuser box you’re warned you to use large tea leaves like jasmine. My tisane had some fine herbs in it, and I discovered the two aren’t a match made in heaven since the slats are a little wide for finer leaves. Notice tea leaves floating around in my cup, below. I guess I’ll reserve this infuser for some larger leafed oolongs like a Da Hong Pao, perhaps?
I found the leaves made a bit of a mess when trying to get them out of the infuser, though the infuser itself was easy to clean. I wonder how long I’ll have this before I break it? I’m pretty notorious for breaking glass tea ware but couldn’t resist the slick design. It’s difficult to know if this was worth the money I paid for it, I can see it shattered to pieces in a matter of days, though it does infuse well. I’m a bit fussy about tea infusers, normally I infuse my tea with a fine mesh strainer and pour the water on top of the tea. I don’t care much for tea balls as they never seem to infuse the tea properly. Paper tea bags are good for travel, but invariably make the tea taste like a soggy newspaper. The Tea Tube works well as an infuser but I’ll avoid it with finer leaves from now on.
As far as the tisane itself, wow! It’s amazing. It smells like a fresh meadow of flowers. The mix is blended very well, so that you can taste the individual ingredients but none is very overpowering. With each sip, I get a hint of mint, a bit of rose and a lovely finish of chamomile. I haven’t tried all the beauty-fying suggestions yet, but I did use a bit of the brewed tea on my face and it smells wonderful. I’m not normally impressed with herbal blends but something about this seemed luxurious. It would make a superb gift for any tea-loving lady, especially a San Fran Tea lady?
I’m really happy with my new tea related purchases, but I might leave my wallet at home the next time I step outside my apartment!