Occasionally I literally “run into” a fine tea shop. Such was the case with Leaf & Kettle Fine Teas and Teaware in Del Mar, Ca.
Several weeks ago, we trekked down to a restaurant/bar in Del Mar, North San Diego area, to hear live music from one of my husband’s favorite up and coming artists. Upon leaving the restaurant, I spotted this cool looking tea shop. As it was late, the shop was closed, so we put it on our agenda to check it out soon. We did, and what a treat. This contemporary tea shop…with tasting bar and over 100 fine teas was certainly my kind of tea house. Sometimes I get in my own little world of tea and forget that there is this vast population of tea fanatics like me out there. This shop was the epitome of what I enjoy about going to a tea shop. We got to sit at this beautiful wooden bar and try four teas of our choosing while engaging in a lively, dynamic and informative dialogue with Leaf & Kettle’s tea smart manager. The tea preparation was precise, ritual-like using Gaiwan lidded steeping cups, and an invigorating experience. It was also fun.
About LEAF & KETTLE – they state:
“We are dedicated to providing our customers with a wide selection of high quality teas and tisanes backed by superior customer care and a passion for excellent service. We purchase in limited quantities to ensure all stocks are sold through and remain fresh. Season-specific teas, especially white and green teas, are always from the current harvest year unless otherwise noted.
One of our favorite aspects of tea is that it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. We don’t believe there is a “right” or “wrong” way to enjoy it. Some people would not dream of adding milk or sugar to their tea, while others have formed entire tea drinking rituals around the addition of these items. We believe you should enjoy tea in any way you see fit. We love it all and usually prepare our style of tea based on our mood, the weather, time of day, or how much time we have. On cold winter mornings, piping hot tea steeped in a pot is such a treat. For others, they may prefer a nice Wuyi Oolong with its dark, sweet roasted character best coaxed from a traditional Gaiwan (lidded cup). On a hot day, a freshly shaken glass of iced tea always hits the spot. Consider all of the different tea cultures around the world: tea taken with milk and sugar throughout the UK, the spicy sweet Masala Chai of India, the refreshing sweetened mint green tea from Morocco. And these are just a few! There are countless other ways tea is enjoyed around the world, all of them valid. So, establish your own favorite rituals and take your tea however you most enjoy it. That’s what we do!”
And I will say, they do it well and we came home with superior teas that I hadn’t tried before.
Photos also depict Casey, our tea barista, pouring my tasting of two Japanese green teas and, my favorite of the day, Iron Goddess Reserve Oolong…I went home with 4 ounces of this well-balanced tea which was perfect after the lunch we came from. It tasted warm, sweet, creamy with a slight hint of maple (one of my favorite flavors)…fresh, light and yummy at the same time. My husband went for a large iced tea to go also…and the freshly steeped tea, shaken in ice and poured over ice is just stunning. I now do it that way at home with a martini shaker that I hadn’t used in years. The inside of the shop has beautiful tea ware. Will share more of the tea ware later as I did pick up my new favorite everyday cup from them that day too. All in all, a great tea day!!! Thanks Casey and Leaf & Kettle! We’ll be back.