Sebastopol: Infusions Teahouse - Organic Orange Ginger Puerh
There are loose leaf black green, oolong, white, regular puerh teas and herbal tisanes both brewed in-house or to available for home-brewing. . There is a selection of tea ware.
They also have some baked goods and a brief menu which the website states has “small plates – inspired by different tea cultures and cooked with tea”
There are vegan dishes as well as gluten free, and sugar free sweets.
It is also the retail shop for Sonoma Chocolatiers which specializes in dark chocolate truffles using 62%-85% cacao.
It has a new age-y feel about it. In addition to lots of couches, the corner in the back is set up with a Middle-Eastern feel … pillows strewn around for relaxing. There was someone in front reading tarot cards.
There is wifi and electrical outlets and it was packed with people working on computers
The website says that on Tuesday nights starting at 7pm there are special events such as music and poetry
Other than chocolates, the only thing I bought was the cup of flavored puerh. There are some things you just know are not going to be successful. Still, I was intrigued by a flavored puerh. Skip it.
I left the paper tea sleeve in the tea until the water turned cold. It was only after lots of steeping that the ginger flavor came through. I even tore open the tea sleeve and, yep, there were pieces of orange peel in there though the flavor never came through. I even chewed on a tiny piece of tea … no flavor … zilch.
Still, I’ll stop by again to try a few of the other chocolates and maybe some of the menu items such as ochazuke, the vegan bento box, samosas, sachleb or quiche. It is nice to know a place in that area to get a cup of loose leaf tea.
6988 McKinley Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Numi has several flavored pu-erhs: Mint Pu-erh, Magnolia Pu-erh, and Chocolate Pu-erh, as well as a non-flavored pu-erh called Emperor's Pu-erh. My favorite is the Mint Pu-erh, even though I'm not normally wild over mint teas. The Chocolate Pu-erh was also excellent. The Magnolia Pu-erh reminded me of jasmine tea, floral but without the distinctive scent of jasmine. The Emperor's Pu-erh was the one that I found least exciting -- a nice pu-erh to be sure, but similar to other pu-erhs I've had. (http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/nc...)
It looks like they are coming out with a new line of bottled teas, though I haven't seen these in stores yet.
Their tea garden in Oakland is well worth the trip, IMHO. Very serene, with a formal Chinese-style tea service (though a little different than the technique I've seen when living in China). They had some small snacks on the menu, as well as a large selection of teas. They even had a large barrel with free sample sachets of their new teas, though this was back in January. The tea house is kind of in an industrial part of Oakland, so there is not too much else in the neighborhood, but I think it's a top-notch hidden S.F. Bay Area treasure.
Numi Tea Garden
2230 Livingston St, Oakland, CA 94606
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You may not have enjoyed the Puerh, but a pot of their black coconut tea, along with a brownie (potless, harhar :P ), is one of my fav. treats when I'm in the area. I enjoy some of their citrus/green tea blends as well. And the prices for the loose-leaf tea, I think, are pretty decent. It's nice to be able to get as little or as much as you want.
I, too, was intrigued by a flavored pu-erh based on your post, so I've been looking online (as I'm not in CA). Just found several reviews on a Mocha Truffle Pu-erh from Mighty Leaf. Apparently, you hit the nail on the head with your "skip it" assessment. The reviews are pretty brutal (actually amusing), but the short list of "Cons" is enough to turn ya right off.
Strawberry flavored Pu-erh ... yikes
The thing with pu-erh is that it does taste like dirt ... in a good way. I'm guessing these flavored versions are ways to use up bad pu-erh .. though it might be difficult to determine where exactly it went wrong ... other than losing all flavor.
They were funny comments though ... especially someone adding milk to pu-erh .. it boggles the mind.