I tell 'ya, I'm really digging Yelp. Aside from being jam-packed with tons of reviews for every type of business imaginable, they keep wowing me with some great events.

Case-in-point - we had another Yelp event last night, this time courtesy of Steepery Tea, which is located at 430 State Street in Madison.

The purveyors of fine, gourmet tea locked their doors and opened their store to a small group of about 12-15 Yelppers, where they literally schooled us about tea. From white tea (the most delicate and lowest in caffeine) to green tea (rich in EGCG and antioxidants) to oolong tea (the "tea lover's tea") to black tea (robust) to bubble tea (unique!) to chai - we were exposed to all of the ins-and-outs.

Did you know that teas and coffees deliver different types of caffeine? Coffee delivers water-soluble caffeine that results in a quick, intense, short burst of caffeine. It'll get you going, but it'll ramp down fast. Tea's caffeine is fat-soluble, so it's a slower, more consistent caffeine experience. Tea also delivers an average of just 5-20% of the caffeine that coffee does.

It was extremely interesting, because the tea mongers shared with us the proper methods for brewing the perfect cup of tea. White teas, being younger and more delicate, should be brewed at a lower temperature and steeped for a short amount of time - just 3 minutes. Compare that to a black tea, which brews at a higher temperature and steeps for 5-6 minutes. Steep any tea for too long, and you'll get a bitter cup, no matter how high in quality the tea leaves may be.

Steepery is a family business that started in the Twin Cities. They've since expanded to five stores in Minnesota; the Madison store is their first outside of Minnesota. The Madison location is run by Nick and his mother, Diana. Both were fantastically nice; the rest of the staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating as well.

Huge thanks to the Yelp staff for putting together this event, and even bigger thanks to the awesome crew from Steepery. If you enjoy a quality cup of tea (or better yet, if you've never had a great cup of tea), swing on over to Steepery and check them out. The stuff was really smooth, really flavorful, and will definitely be worth your time and expense.

My favorites? Hmmm.... The Taro Chai was unique and super tasty - like an oatmeal cookie - but I'd probably only want to drink a very small cup, and I'd probably treat it like a dessert. The bubble teas were shockingly unique and tasty, although a bit sweet, with their tapioca "bubbles."

In the end, I really enjoyed the oolong varieties along with the Fiji White tea. Yep, I'd say those were my favorites.

Here are a few photos from the event. I didn't take too many because I was so busy learning and enjoying my time there.

The wall of raw tea leaves, in their air-tight, UV-proof containers:


A bubble tea, with tri-colored jellies. Super tasty, but a bit sweet & check out that straw:


Mitch, one of the tea mongers, talks to us about herbal & oolong teas. Mini-cupcakes were compliments of Cupcakes-a-go-go:


Steepery can seal-up your to-go glass so that it won't spill; the cellophane prevents splashes, but will easily open-up when punctured with a straw:


By the end of the event, I had learned a ton more about the world of tea, and was extremely appreciative of the fine crew of folks working at Steepery. Yelp - another job well done! I can't wait for the next event.

Until then...

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on October 23, 2012 5:31 PM.

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