Thursday, July 2, 2020

Tea Review: Satemwa Dark Tea (Friday Afternoon)

Satemwa Dark Tea
Friday Afternoon
Type: Dark
Origin: East Africa, Malawi, Satemwa Tea Estate
Product Description:
This cooked pu-erh style leaf is a revelation in African teas. We love the mineral heavy palate and medium-bodied earthiness of this unusual 5-year aged dark tea. From our Malawi tea partners, Satemwa Estate.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of peat moss and earth.

The dark reddish-brown infusion has a rich aroma of earth, chocolate, and moss. The taste is rich and earthy.

This is appropriately one of the darkest teas I've enjoyed and a delight for those of us who prefer an earthy puerh.  The liquor is almost thick with full flavor, deep color, and bold aroma throughout the first two infusions and only slight mellowing with the third.  It's also very forgiving, so being forgetful or purposefully over-steeping is not a problem.

This tea was purchased by me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Friday Afternoon

In December 2017, Friday Afternoon made the successful transition from an online tea store to a full-fledged tea room, located on Stone Way North in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.

The tea room is a welcoming and inclusive geek-friendly space.  The room is well-lit with plentiful seating at tables and in cozy armchairs, and there are dozens of tabletop games available for entertainment. 

The walls are decorated with artwork by featured local artists, often in collaboration with the neighborhood Art Walk.  I was delighted to see pieces by my dear friend Laura Cameron on display during one of my visits!

Friday Afternoon hosts a wide range of workshops and events like pop-up shops, concerts by the Seattle Video Game Orchestra, Chat and Craft sessions, cosplay events, and Paint & Sip workshops like the one I attended in August.  Check out their Calendar to learn about upcoming events!

The tea room offers a nice selection of loose leaf white, green, oolong, and black teas, as well as herbals and tisanes.  All teas are available to enjoy in-house or to-go.  Packaged tea and teaware are also available for purchase.

Owner Friday Elliott is an experienced tea blender and has created an impressive range of seasonal and themed teas, most notably the Fandom Blends.  Friday also provides custom blending services by appointment.  

For this visit, I savored a pot of Satemwa Dark tea which was served in a French press with complimentary hot water refills.  I also took the opportunity to stock up on Coffee Kisses tea from Bitaco in Colombia.

At the time of this review, tea room hours may differ due to COVID-19.  Follow Friday Afternoon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and more!

4228 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tea Review: Fancy Golden Tippy Yunnan (Stash Tea)

Fancy Golden Tippy Yunnan
Stash Tea
Type: Black
Origin: China, Yunnan Province
Product Description:
An extraordinary Yunnan tea with twisted, golden leaves. The aroma is sweet and alluring and the taste is malty and smooth with lingering honey overtones. A subtle smoky note emerges as the tea cools.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of fruit, oats, and fragrant wood.

The liquor is copper-red with an aroma of baked fruit and hint of green vine.  The taste has notes of stone fruit and malt with a long fruity and honey-like finish.

The first infusion had the fullest flavor, reminding me of biting into just-ripe fruit, with a hint of tartness at the back.  The next two infusions were slightly lighter, though notably sweeter, taking on a more berry-like aroma.  I purchased this tea from the Stash retail store in Tigard, Oregon and it is unfortunately not available for purchase online at the time of this review.

This tea was purchased by me.

Chinese Opera: Women in Times of War

On August 11th, I had the pleasure of attending Chinese Opera: Women in Times of War performed by members of Seattle's Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club at Meydenbauer Center.

The Program:

On the Hillside - Excerpt from the Chinese legend of Xue Ping-Gui and Wang Bao-Chuan, set in the Tang Dynasty.  

Bao-Chuan, the daughter of the prime minister, fell in love with beggar, Ping-Gui.  Ping-Gui had gone off to war and survived several attempts on his life orchestrated by the prime minister before being captured by the Princess of Xiliang.  Her father spared Ping-Gui's life and offered his daughter's hand in marriage.  Following the king's death, Ping-Gui became king of Xiliang and after 18 years away returns to his first love, Bao-Chuan.

The Woman Spy - Excerpt from the story of one of the legendary four beauties of ancient China, Xi Shi, set in the Zhou Dynasty.

Xi Shi, a poor village girl, is recruited by the wandering magistrate Fan Li and presented to the king of the rival Wu kingdom to serve as a seductress and spy for Yue.  Over the years in this role, she holds onto her secret love for Fan Li.  Following the death of the Wu king and the restoration of Yue, she is reunited with Fan Li and they retire to a quiet life together.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Tea Review: Taiwan Black Pearl (Experience Tea)

Taiwan Black Pearl
Experience Tea
Type: Black
Origin: Taiwan
Product Description:
A tightly rolled, beautiful black tea from the Jin Xuan cultivar, oxidized 90%. It has a complexity of aromas and flavors ranging from stone fruit and sugar cane with hints of malt and toast.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have a rich aroma with notes of dark bread and dates.

The copper orange infusion has an aroma of stone fruit, roasted nuts, and grains with a taste of fruit and caramel.

For some reason, this tea reminded me of delicious dark brown bread.  The best flavor wass in the first infusion with a longer 5-minute steeping time adding depth to the second infusion.

This tea was purchased by me.


LizzyKate first opened its doors in downtown Kirkland in July 2016.  The tea room, owned by Will and Amy Riffle, is located on Kirkland Avenue, adjacent to many of the city's festive events and a short walk to the marina and several parks.  At the time of my visit, a classic car show was underway just steps from the entrance.

The tea room interior is modern, bright, and airy with seating at tables and at the tea bar.

LizzyKate offers white, green, oolong, and black teas, matcha, herbals and tisanes, as well as tea flights, a daily iced tea menu, tea lattes, tea mocktails, and kombucha on tap.  Tea baristas are ready to offer customized suggestions to suit your tastes.

Tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, in-house and to-go.  Conveniently packaged loose leaf tea and teaware is also available for purchase.

The tea room hosts tea and food pairings as well as classes. Check out their Calendar to learn about upcoming events!

For this visit, I enjoyed a pot of refreshing Sejak Korean green tea paired with a Fukusa wagashi by Tokara.  The tea was served with a cozy for the removable infuser and a digital tea timer so I could relax and enjoy the ambiance without worrying about over-brewing.  Re-steeps are complimentary.

At the time of this review, tea room hours may differ due to COVID-19.  Follow LizzyKate on Facebook and Instagram for updates and more!

115 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033

11:00 am-5:00 pm

Monday, June 22, 2020

Matcha Cafe Maiko Seattle

Matcha Cafe Maiko Seattle is located inside Westlake Center by the entrance to the Seattle Monorail.

I had previously visited the Las Vegas branch of Matcha Cafe Maiko in 2018 and couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the downtown Seattle branch after it opened in May 2019.

Since this location is a tea stand rather than a full-scale cafe, seating is somewhat limited and located adjacent to the stand.

The menu features matcha and hojicha served hot or cold, as well as in soft serve, floats, and parfaits.

For this visit, I went for a little of both sides of the menu with a Matcha Ice Cream and an Iced Hojicha.

At the time of this review, the tea stand is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.  Matcha Cafe Maiko Seattle on Facebook for updates and more!

400 Pine St # 324, Seattle, WA 98101

10:00 am-8:00 pm 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Tea Shout-Out: Blackbird Bakery

The Tea Shout-Out highlights restaurants and other businesses who go the extra mile to serve good quality tea.

This shout-out goes to Blackbird Bakery located in downtown Bainbridge Island. In addition to their popular baked goods, they serve loose leaf tea by the cup or pot as well as chai and kombucha. During my last visit, I enjoyed a pot of English Breakfast tea with a fresh slice of Spinach Chevre Quiche.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tea Review: Pu-er Tea (Eight Treasures Shop)

Pu-er Tea
Eight Treasures Shop
Type: Puerh
Origin: Not provided
Product Description: Not provided.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of moss, tree bark, and earth.

The dark red-brown infusion has a deep mossy and earthy aroma and taste.

This shou puerh was full-flavored throughout three infusions with only a slight lightening of liquor color by the third infusion.  I bought this tea purely out of curiosity and it didn't have any information other than the name, so I had no expectations.  While it may not be high quality puerh, it was dark and earthy and fully enjoyable.

This tea was purchased by me.

Magnolia Tea Room

Magnolia Tea Room first opened its doors in scenic downtown Silverton in November 2018.  The tea room is located on Water Street in the historic Julius Alm Building (1908), a short walk from the Farmer's Market and just one mile from the famous Oregon Garden.

The decor is modern chic, well lit and spacious with plentiful seating and no sense of crowding.  French cafe music plays in the background, adding to the ambiance.

It's worth noting that there is no dress code for taking tea at Magnolia Tea Room.  I had a very nice conversation with the owner and she confirmed that casual dress is welcome, even if you're coming in fresh from a hike around nearby Silver Falls.  The ambiance is intended to create a positive space for the customer to feel welcome.

Magnolia Tea Room offers a nice variety of tea sets for all appetites ranging from a simple pot of tea to their multi-course Magnolia Afternoon Tea.  Everything on the menu is made from scratch.

For this visit, I enjoyed the Afternoon Tea which began with a serving of mango sorbet, followed by a bowl of broccoli lemon soup, and finished with the customary tiered stand of savories and sweets.  My tea selection was Russian Imperial.

My teacup and saucer matched the tea room's light fixtures and chairbacks which was a nice touch.

Reservations are highly recommended and required for parties of 5 or more.

At the time of this review, the tea room is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.  Follow Magnolia Tea Room on Facebook for updates and more!

115 N Water St, Silverton, OR 97381

11:00 am-4:00 pm Tuesday-Saturday
Closed Sunday and Monday