Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Tea: Phuc Long (Including Lotus Tea!)

How It Came To Pass

Phuc Long Lotus Tea

Long ago in days of yore, Trung Nguyen had a tea company called Tra Tien. They sold loose-leaf Vietnamese green tea in three varieties: classic green, jasmine green, and lotus green.
Then Tra Tien got discontinued. We searched and found a good replacement for the classic and jasmine green tea, but couldn't find any lotus green tea that held a candle to Tra Tien. Lo, how the streets of Boston did flow with tears. And angry customers--you have no idea how many people used to come by the farmers' market looking for iced lotus tea!

For years, we despaired of finding another awesome lotus tea. We would not settle! Only the best for you.

Then, we found Phuc Long. And it outshines even our memory of Tra Tien lotus tea. And there was much rejoicing. (Also giggling. Say "Phuc Long" out loud with an American accent and you'll see why--but not if your boss/kids are listening!)

A Somewhat Less Silly Account of Lotus Tea

Basket of tea and jasmine buds. Source: Wikipedia

Most people are familiar with jasmine tea; if not jasmine tea, then jasmine rice, or, if all else fails, jasmine perfume. The jasmine flower is used to scent a wide variety of items because it's one of the nicest-smelling flowers in the world.

To make jasmine tea properly (without additives), the tea leaves are mixed with the flowers in baskets or trays. Tea is highly absorbent of aromas, and the leaves quickly pick up the sweet scent of jasmine. This process may be repeated multiple times to make a stronger-scented tea. Once the flowers have imparted their aroma to the tea, they are separated from the tea by blowing them with giant fans--the lighter flowers blow away from the heavier tea leaves.

Lotus blossom. Note the yellow stamens in the center.
Lotus tea is made the same way, but with lotus flowers. Specifically, the golden stamens from the center of the flower.

These huge, magenta-pink flowers have a much subtler aroma than jasmine, one that is unfamiliar to most Americans but popular in Vietnam. It tends to taste different to everybody, but most describe it as reminiscent of chamomile, vanilla, or even a hint of anise,

Lotus tea also has a fuller mouthfeel and a slight natural sweetness. The aroma is not ruined by adding a splash of milk or packet of sugar, either, which is a bonus for those of us who love a milk tea.

It's also one of the best iced teas we have ever tried. It was incredibly popular back when we used to sell glasses of iced tea at markets, even with children who weren't normally fans of tea.

To shop for Phuc Long teas, including lotus tea, click here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

That's a lot of snow...

Recently we have been inundated, here in Boston, with almost 4 feet of snow spanning three storms in about 10 days. We now have plowed piles of snow topping 10 feet around our building! We have certainly experienced some delays in shipping, partly due to closing by UPS and the Post Office.

But generally the delays are only 1-2 business days on our end. We can't see yet what might be happening on the delivery end... hopefully people are getting their coffee and tea in a timely manner.

We apologize for the delays and hope everybody will have patience with us as we cope with this record-breaking weather extreme. If another storm comes in any time soon we will have to resort to shipping the snow to someplace else -- there is no more room for it here! (Hmm... I wonder how much snow will fit in a USPS Flat Rate box...)