It’s not uncommon for me to get requests to review tea from sources around the globe. When I was approached by Tea Gallerie for this purpose, my initial impulse was to pass as I’m a purist and typically don’t enjoy blends. It must have been one of those days because I ended up agreeing. Perhaps my ambivalence came through when, each month, I found other things to write about. This month, however, I would honor my commitment.
My one-ounce samples were interesting to look at. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the owner, Maria Alto, has a background in marketing and advertising. I find the visual impact of products is important to me and tea packaging is certainly included in that. My first tea was White Guava Ginger. Steeping at 175 degrees for 4-5 minutes produced an interesting tropical brew that wasn’t overly flavored. Truth is, that’s my biggest complaint about blends. Perhaps because I drink orthodox teas predominantly, my palate is used to subtle flavors. The ginger and guava were easily identified, but didn’t overwhelm.
On to Green Tangerine for which I was surprised to see such a long steep suggestion of 3-5 minutes. Of course, I taste tested after 3 minutes, not wanting anything too strong. But then I continued for the full 5 minutes and can say that I enjoyed this selection as well. The citrus notes were present, which produced an interesting green tea blend. I saved the China Jasmine for last as I’m a big fan of jasmine. With a suggested 2-3-minute steeping time, I threw caution to the wind and steeped the tea for 3 minutes. Although the leaves were smaller than I’m used to, the flavor was sweet with floral notes of jasmine coming through without being overpowering.
All in all, I would recommend Tea Gallerie for those who enjoy unique tea blends. My only reservation is that these teas are not organic. I have serious concerns about repeated, daily consumption of conventionally grown tea. It’s not just tea that I consider when thinking organic. Generally, the only time I don’t eat organic foods or drink organic beverages is when I’m going out for a meal. In Portland, Oregon, many of my favorite eateries offer organic options. I don’t feel it’s of concern for periodic consumption, but when we consider eating 3 meals a day and drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, it all adds up. Perhaps Maria’s customers will make requests for organic selections and at least people will have that option available.