Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Media Preview: Seventh Tea Bar (December 18, 2012)

I have gone to heaven! Christa and Jeff Duggan, the masterminds behind my favorite place for coffee, Portola Coffee Lab and the genius craft brew bar Theorem, are bringing tea into the mix! They are opening Seventh Tea Bar in January! I was lucky enough to attend a media preview!
The name Seventh derives from the Chinese philosophy that there are seven necessities to life, with tea being the seventh of these. If you enjoy tea, then you really owe it to yourself to come here next month to have a tea experience like no other. The knowledgeable tea baristas (my phrase not theirs) will take you through the various teas and brewing processes, much like they do at Portola and at Theorem. It is the educational knowledge that one walks away with from each visit, especially at Theorem, that I can equate to understanding the differences of wines for instance. But instead of wine, it is gaining knowledge of coffee and eventually tea. And after my experience at Seventh Tea Bar, I completely understand why tea is one of the seven necessities of life.
The first tea for the evening was their Yunnan Gold Tip tea from Yunnan, China. It was prepared by the one and only Truman! Truman is the wizard behind Theorem and is as passionate and knowledgeable about coffee as he is about tea. What I learned about this particular tea is that in China only royalty was allowed to drink tea made from the tips of tea leaves.
Truman prepared this tea utilizing an aeropress typically used for coffee. The resulting tea was slightly peppery with a subtle bitterness to it. I would pair this tea with something sweet. I  paired it with the French baguette and strawberry-black pepper jam. I really enjoyed the contrasting flavors of slightly bitter and sweet. Plus, the pepper in both the tea and the jam blended well together.
The second tea was the Dragonwell 3rd. It is a green tea and while I typically enjoy green tea, this one was much more bitter than what I was use to. I gladly paired this with the Smoked Chicken Salad (smoked chicken, Greek yogurt vinaigrette, green apple and scallions) tea sandwich. The bitterness of the tea and the subtle flavors of the sandwich paired perfectly with one another.
The last tea I sampled for the evening was the Oolong Fanciest from O Mei, Taiwan. This was by far my most favorite tea of the evening. It was prepared using the gaiwan technique and I watched as the tea barista Kelly infused this tea several times. This produced a very subtle, full-bodied tea that was very easy on the palette. I easily paired this with the Gravlax Glory (house cured citrus salmon, shallot-caper relish, dill creme fraiche, sliced heirlooms) tea sandwich. I loved the subtleness of the tea paired with the saltiness of the salmon. A pure joy!
Taking a look at just some of the food offerings that will be available at Seventh! The menu was created by Chef Katherine Louis and is meant to not only compliment the teas, but stand out on its own as well.  Starting with the top left is the Smoked Chicken Salad tea sandwiches! The Gravlax Glory tea sandwiches are on the upper right! The apricot and walnut scones on the lower left! The amazing light and buttery croissants on the lower right! Anytime of the day that you visit will be a heavenly experience!
The unbelievably delicious strawberry-black pepper jam on the upper left! I want a few bottles to take home please! The top right is my plate to sample the food offerings! I'm not ashamed to say I went back from more! The bottom is an example of the menu. January 2nd cannot come soon enough!
Special thanks to Christa Duggan (sorry I didn't get a picture with all of us Jeff!) for this wonderful preview! You have already made a coffee fan out of me for life! And you are already making me a tea fan for life! I cannot wait for whatever your next idea may be!
Thank you to coffee and tea barista extraordinaire Truman for giving me the understanding of the many complexities of coffee and now tea. I look forward to be further educated in the future!
And of course thank you to Mona for the invite! Thank you introducing me to Portola coffee Lab. My world has never been the same!

This evening was truly special and to be with people who truly love what they do makes everything that much more enjoyable! When people tell you that the extra ingredient is love, they really mean it here. You will find people that understand their craft far better than anyplace I have ever been. And when you merge the best ingredients with the most knowledgeable people, you create magic.

Seventh Tea Bar opens on January 2nd and if you are a fan of tea or just a casual tea drinker, you will not find a better place to experience tea.

*Seventh Tea Bar officially opens January 2, 2013*

Seventh Tea Bar
The OC Mart Mix
3313 Hyland Ave

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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