Sunday, March 29, 2015

Catch Up - Part II - Mrs. Kelly's Teas

In December (December 6 to be precise), I talked Eryn into going to Mrs. Kelly's Tea's annual tea tasting.  M.A. Rosko from Channel 9's morning news had talked about it during the week - Eryn and I watch the news together in the morning and although Fox isn't necessarily in line with my political sentiments, they have a good local morning show here in the Twin Cities - and Eryn is a pretty serious tea drinker.

I think we tried almost 30 teas each.  We got there early enough to lock in a little table and two chairs, so one off us would go off and create three tea bags and bring them back with water, we'd spend a few minutes talking about our first sips, and then the other one of us would go find three different teas.  It was a tea assembly line.

There were several areas to fill your tea bags with a theme to the areas - fruity vs. black vs. oolong vs green.  This was one of several areas.  You just grabbed a few open-topped bags and scooped a plastic spoon of tea into each one to put in a small styrofoam cup.

Water stations were in the hallway so you could refill your cups.  While it might seem very un-eco-friendly to have all those styrofoam cups, it did make for less of a mess and Eryn and I were able to reuse the six we had (our 3/3 rotation cups) for everything we drank and there were collection and recycling spots all over the place (although I'm not sure if you can recycle styrofoam cups yet).

So here's our official set up with our tea list and cups.  We tried:

  1. Africa Fruit Bowl
  2. Cozy Chamomile
  3. Fairy Tisane (smells like grass, the fresh cut outside kind, not the Colorado kind)
  4. Tisane (Hibiscus)
  5. Peach Mango
  6. Spearmint
  7. Honeybush
  8. Strawberry Fields
  9. Sunrise Surprise
  10. Vanilla Orange
  11. Strawberry Surprise
  12. Cherry Green
  13. Citrusnap
  14. Chamomile (not cozy)
  15. Gunpowder (weird)
  16. Jasmine Pearls ($40 a bag and looks like little rolled flowers)
  17. Jasmine Ginger (ewww...tasted like vasoline)
  18. Emon Green (? or something like that)
  19. Minneapple Green
  20. Pear
  21. Butterscotch
  22. Creme of Raspberry (tastes like a scratch and sniff from my childhood)
  23. Chocolate Mint (ick)
  24. Spiced Orange
  25. Banana Foster
  26. Assam
  27. English Breakfast
  28. Russian Smoky (tasted like Bacon)
  29. Peach Oolong
  30. Holiday Decaf
  31. Holiday not Decaf
  32. Malted Chocolate or something like that

There might have been a few others.  Both Eryn and I were reeling from caffeine overload by the time we left.  Holiday, Vanilla Orange, and Minneapple were the three we took home, in addition to some gourmet chocolate and a bracelet for my wife from a custom jewelry boutique, Azra Jewelry.  We also doubled down on everything but the jewelry for my mother for her Secret Santa gift.

Here's Eryn before the caffeine hangover kicks in.

A few of the teas including Banana Foster which we snapped a picture of for my sister who refuses to talk about how she once made us Bananas Foster as a dessert.

After Mrs. Kelly's we did a neighborhood tour - this is right next to the warehouse Mrs. Kelly's abides in - and found some lunch at Maeve's Cafe and some books at the local used book store.  Eryn picked up a novel based on Halo, the video game, and I just this week found her three others at the library (although she's currently in the middle of Mort(e)), so our tea and book experiences are still front and center 4 months later.

Maeve's was a nice place to slowly unwind over iPad Fluxx and get some food on top of all that liquid.

I particularly liked this painting, although for most of our visit I thought it was a chalkboard you could write on without damaging the picture.  Fortunately, there was no chalk so I was saved from inadvertent vandalism.

Maeve's also had a wall of poetry, some of it an homage to squirrels.  I wonder if there are tulip bulbs in the sun (XKCD)?

And finally, this has NOTHING to do with the trip to Mrs. Kelly's directly, but it's part of Eryn's tea mini-obsession.  When my wife and I went to The Lagoon to see the animation Academy Award nominations recently, we wandered around Kitchen Windows ogling all the shiny coffee makers and toys.  We left with little for ourselves, but picked up this manatee tea steeper for Eryn (she has a thing for manatees after our first trip to Florida, and a stuffed manatee named Sally).

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