Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The best place for tea in San Diego

Like all Mauritians, I grew up drinking tea. Most Mauritians drink it in the morning and they always serve it when they have visitors. The locally produced tea, Bois Cheri, is a black tea. I still remember how it was prepared: add the tea to a saucepan full water, bring to a boil, then add sugar and milk. Lots of sugar! Mauritians love their tea sweet. Not for me though. By the time I left home for my university studies, I had already switched to coffee that I drank black with no sugar.

I stayed away from tea throughout my studies in Scotland and even after I moved to the US. Then about five years ago, I went on a business trip to China. One of the cities I visited was Hangzhou. It is in Zheijang province in Eastern China. Hangzhou is one of the most beautiful cities that I have visited in China.  Just outside of Hangzhou is the village of Longjhing. This is the source of Dragonwell or Longjhing tea, one of the most famous varieties of Chinese green tea. The tea is harvested in the spring and the best Dragonwell is made from the most tender leaves of the plant. They are very carefully hand dried over a hot copper pan. When prepared correctly, Dragonwell has a very nice nutty flavor. I had my first cup of Dragonwell tea in a small tea room in Longjhing looking out on the hills covered with tea shrubs. It was a cold, drizzly spring day and the tea was absolutely wonderful. Since that trip to Longjing, I drink tea everyday. Longjing tea is still my favorite but I have tried many others. As I write this, I am drinking a cup of Pu-erh tea.

Back in San Diego, I started looking for places to get good tea. Chinatown in LA is too far away. I wanted to see the tea leaves used in making the tea. That meant "No Starbucks!". Then I found Infusions of Tea on Genesee Avenue across the street from the UTC Mall. Infusions of Tea is the creation of Emilie Yanagi and Ron Eng. Just walk into their teashop, sit down at the tea bar and let Ron or Emilie help you find the right tea for you.

I was at Infusions this weekend with Mrs Martian. She usually drinks herbal teas but this time, she had the Liquid Yoga, which is an herbal blend with apricot. I, on the other hand, was looking for a Chai tea for a recipe that you will see soon. After some discussion with Ron, I chose the Kashmiri Chai. That was a great choice. It had such a wonderful cardamon flavor. Exactly what I need for my recipe!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful article. We hope to see you again soon at the store. I'd love to hear more about the Mauritian life!