Masterful Tea and a Food Gal Giveaway

Who couldn't use a hot cup of "Ancient Beauty'' tea?

Enjoy a sip of some rather discriminating teas, made from just the top two leaves and bud from each plant.

You can with the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s new, limited-edition Tea Master’s single-batch tea blends.

The Southern California-based company is selling these six, loose-leaf tea blends online only: Shree Dwarika Estate Darjeeling (3.5 ounces for $9.20), Thailand Wulong Oolong (1.25 ounces for $6.20), Ah Li Shan Taiwan Oolong (4 ounce at $20.20), Bogawantalawa Estate Sri Lanka (3 ounces for 7.20), Ancient Beauty (2 ounces for $12.20), and Japanese Sencha Green (4.5 ounces for $13.20).

Large leaves impart a smooth flavor to this tea.

When I had a chance to sample a few of them, I couldn’t pass up trying Ancient Beauty. Heck, the name alone entices. These days, as I feel quite ancient at times, I need all the beauty I can get.

This oolong tea from thousand-year-old trees has a honey-earthy fragrance. Steep a cup to enjoy a clean tasting tea with smooth, subtle tannins. It would be an ideal accompaniment to dim sum.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a tin of each of the six tea varieties. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST April 21. Winner will be announced April 23.

How to win?

You’ve probably heard the catchy, old-school musical number, “Tea for Two”? Just tell me whom you’d like to share a cup of tea with — and why. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“For purely educational and intense research purposes, I can think of no better choice than David Beckham. Hey, he’s British. I’m sure he’d know a lot about tea. That’s my pick, and I’m sticking to it. Can you blame me?”

Three of the six varieties that you can win.

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  • When I was 15, and wanted to introduce my first boyfriend to someone in my family, I chose my maternal grandmother, even though she didn’t speak English and my boyfriend didn’t speak Chinese. She died while I was away at college, and I never had a chance to say good-bye, so it would be nice to have a cup of tea with her and catch up with old times.

  • Ellon St. Croix

    I would love to have tea with princess Diana. To me, she was a quintessential Brit. I felt like I knew her and watched her grow up like she was one of my own friends since we were the same age.

  • I would love to have tea with Bree from Desperate Housewives. (You didn’t say it had to be a non-fictional character right?) She was always my favorite, so elegant and graceful! Being a home-body myself, I know we’d have a great time even though I’m sure she’d sculd me for at least one thing!

  • Bayarealattegirl

    My mom – I would just love to fly back home and have a cup of tea with my mom. I miss her more now that I have my kids and now really appreciate how hard my mom worked for us. I love you so much, Mom!

  • Grandma. She frail at 91, stares at me with joy as she sees my youth. Yet she can never tell me how she feels, and I can never respond. Though we are sometimes face to face, we are a world apart in language and cultural. If only one day over tea, in the same tongue we can share with one another.

  • I would love to share these teas with my good friend and fellow subcontractor and her two young daughters. My friend and I have been working together for 7 years. Since she is a mom that home schools her two daughters, I’ve spent a lot of time with all of them and have watched the girls grow up. At every meeting, her house or mine, we always drink tea and lots of it. I love watching the girls go through my tea collection picking a new tea to try. It would be great to have these teas for them to choose from.

  • What exquisite teas! And hehe I would have gone for the Ancient Beauty tea too! 😛

  • My dad does not drink any water – just super strong tea from little cups, all day long. Some years back he learned this from a trip to China: the proper way to make tea is in a little tiny teapot FULL of leaves with hardly any room for water. Throw away the first rinse and steep again so that all you get when you pour is enough for two tiny cups. Seriously, they are no bigger than quarters. Only that second rinse is worth drinking before you toss and fill with new leaves.

    I’d like to meet the guy who invented that method of brewing tea and share a pot with him. He must own a tea company and make a killing from all the tea leaves that he sells.

  • I would like to drink tea with Elvis. Has there ever been anyone more beautiful, more sexy and more talented in the music industry!

  • I would like to drink tea with Anthony Bourdain. I can’t really picture him sitting down to tea…

  • I would like to drink tea with the Dalai Lama. He is so wise and so joyful, time with him would be well spent.

  • Lovely post! And love your response hehe. However, he may be too Americanized by now D:! *gasp*

    As for my own, I would love to have tea with my nanny. My father is British and up until I was 12, we would visit England every summer to go see my Dad’s family. The only one person we would always, without fail, visit was his mother – nanny. I only vaguely remember her, a tiny little woman – the vision of softness and grandmotherly-ness. She would invite us into her little tiny three room house (it was in a kind of elderly community), and pay special attention to me. She would hold my hands in hers, (her hands were always cold) and peck me on the cheeks and then ask me, “Would you like sugar and milk in your tea dear?” and that’s all I can remember. When I was twelve, she passed away and that was when we stopped out trips to England. Now that I’m much older, I would love to be able to sit down for tea with her. To hear about how she managed to get my father and herself sanely through WWII – Did she find ingenious ways to bake with the meager rations? How was life when she was growing up? What was my grandfather like? There are so many things I can only make guesses about.

    Thank you for sparking my memory about her! I’m sad to say it’s been many months since I’ve thought about nanny.


    – Eve

  • After a bit of thought, I’m going to have to go with my first instinct-I want to have tea with Charles Dickens. I feel like he would appreciate it and judging by how witty his writing is, the conversation wouldn’t run dry!

  • To be honest, and this is because I can think of nothing else at this point in the evening, I would like to have tea (and some biscuits) with Hippocrates. I am battling my way through medical school and would really love a conversation with the man we honor for starting it all. And what better way than over a cup of Darjeeling? I’m not sure if the Greeks drank traditional brews, but I’m sure we can find him something…

  • I’d like to enjoy tea with Pearl S. Buck. “The Good Earth” is one of my favorite books. When I read it for the first time, it gave me a glimpse into peasant life in China, and sparked my imagination. A leisurely conversation with her over tea, and hearing about her experiences in China would be fascinating and inspiring.

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