Oolong Tea: Field to Cup

By far one of my favorite places to consume tea is the Samovar Tea Lounge in the Yerba Buena Gardens of San Francisco.  I love that little piece of heaven so much that I even subscribe to their newsletter (I keep my subscriptions to a bare minimum).  When I received today’s, I just had to share these beautiful pictures of oolong tea being processed on the Big Island of Hawaii. As the newsletter describes, this is a “Hawaii-grown oolong with notes of caramelized raisins, and a mellow sour cherry astringency finish. Good for many delicate infusions.” Sounds interesting, right?

Tools of the Trade

Which Leaves to Pick?
Ready for Picking
Oolong in the Making
Hand Firing
Hand Rolling
Inspecting The Goods: Oolong Getting Rolled & Withered

Tasting Time


Hope this gives you even more of an appreciation for your next cup of tea! Enjoy the weekend. ~Annie

Back to San Francisco!

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been meaning to share some pictures from my trip to San Francisco last week. It was my second time in the city (last January was my first) and I fell in love all over again.

First time going over the Golden Gate…

and then into the rainbow tunnel…

{Sausalito looking towards SF}

{massive amounts of rosemary growing along the sidewalk!}

{back in SF at The Fairmont}

{view from our room}

{scrumptious vegeterian pho from Grandehos Kamelkyo II on Hyde St.}

{walking down a typically inclined SF street}

{heavenly lattes made w/ogranic espresso & local milk from Blue Bottle (the Mint St. Location aka their best location, in my humble opinion :)}

{my favorite friends at Pier 39}

{green tea at Samovar in the Yerba Buena Gardens}

{nice surprise on Water St.}

{awesome new addition to San Francisco International Airport}

Tea Time

While we were in San Fran, we fell in love with SAMOVAR, a tranquil tea lounge in the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens. For our week’s stay, we made it a late afternoon/early evening ritual to go to the lounge to try out a different pot of tea each time. It was just so relaxing and fun… And delicious (all of their teas are of the highest quality — organic, fair trade and loose-leaf).

It was also pretty eye-opening and gave us a greater appreciation for tea. It’s amazing to discover how many varieties exist, the possibilities of complexity, and the know-how for making a truly perfect cup.

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar

(That’s SAMOVAR right above the waterfall)


This is the Wuyi Dark Roast Oolong Tea

Flavor Profile: Deep and complex…with a rich body, a roasted aroma, and sweet finish of raisin sugar, honeysuckle, and roasted barley. Warm and earthy notes of bittersweet chocolate and peat moss. Expertly dark roasted, this Wuyi has very little floral notes. If you are a coffee lover, this tea will woo you. {via}

The fact that this tea can be described so extensively just goes to show how drinking tea can really become a hobby and an ongoing education. Are you a fan of tea? Have you ever been to a tea lounge?

First Taste of San Fran

Our very first taste of San Fran — Lattes with local, organic milk and homemade rosemary, olive oil shortbread from Blue Bottle (the Mint St. location).  In one word? Perfection.

This was my first meal in San Fran at Grandeho’s Kamekyo II (on Hyde St. between the GoCars and The Buena Vista Cafe). Heaven on earth aka vegeterian pho.  This would have been incredibly delicious and satisfying no matter what, but it was especially relished after not having eaten since 5am AND walking 3 miles to get from our hotel to here. I made a point to go back again for the same meal plus a side of delicious and very spicy kimchi. The owner commented how much I like spicy things (indeed I do)…yum yum yummm!

There were many, many more delicious teas, coffees, snacks, and meals to follow, but unfortunately I didn’t keep up with my picture taking! Basically, nothing ever dissapointed and I can truly understand all of the raving about the food of San Fran.