I recently relocated 1065.23 miles, from the verdant hills of Hood River, Oregon to the sandy beaches of San Diego, California. As always, I was sad to leave the Pacific Northwest. The weather there helps incline the residents towards a supreme talent with warm beverages, and tea is no exception. Immediately upon my arrival here in San Diego, I began my hunt for a tea house that could appease my pangs of homesickness. And where else would I begin such a search but with Google? However, then the complications began.
Now I know the best way to find a suitable atmosphere for sipping oolong or jasmine green or even the ever-faithful Earl Grey is to ask a local – preferably, a local who is the sort to go to a tea house. However, I know of no such locals thus far, so had to resort to the aforementioned Internet search engine. The results? Heartbreaking. After going through the first 49 results, I found only six tea houses whose primary focus was the service of tea. Most were hybrids, serving coffee and tea, but reviews spoke primarily of iced coffee blends. The greatest disappointment of all was this: after simply typing “tea houses san diego” into Google’s search engine, out of the first 49 results, 30 were Starbucks.
I will continue my hunt, with struggling optimism, encouraged by the continued growth of tea culture in the Pacific Northwest. A dear friend of mine, from Gig Harbor, Washington, recently attended a fair where he was exposed to a plethora of tea by tea educators from Sip-T. When I asked about his experience, he stated, “I bought the Misfits Blend from Sip-T at the Taste of Tacoma last Friday. They were giving out free samples and since I have a small infatuation for tea, I figured why not. Misfits is a white tea, which doesn’t have a strong herby taste, which I like, but the additions of passion fruit, vanilla, and goji berries give it a distinct character that stands out among other teas I’ve tried. I think that Sip-T would be attractive to young adults because…don’t quote me on this, because I’m not 100% sure…they’re vegan/organic… everything good about the green revolution within the beverage market. They use post-consumer recycled paper containers for their teas and their staff is extremely knowledgeable and easy to work with.”
Even though I may not yet be having stupendous luck with my search for a tea house in San Diego, it is reassuring to hear that somewhere the tea crusade continues.