Checking Out a Tea House in California

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Thanks to it and Twitter, I got to know (sort of) the friendly folks at California Tea House without leaving my home in the Southeastern U.S.

As one who lives the “tea life” where tea isn’t just a beverage but a way of life, I’m so thrilled by this and other small tea vendors popping up throughout the States. It certainly gives me hope that we won’t all be stuck with tea dust in a bag.

Samples arrived in foil pouches (and one black plastic pouch) that block out light. Bravo! Light, air, heat, and moisture are anathemas of tea. They rob fines teas of their freshness and taste.

California Tea House doesn’t put a lot of info about the folks behind the scenes there on their site, and no photos, just cartoon images. Their “About Us” page focuses on additional descriptions of their products. I like to know a bit more than that about the people I’m dealing with, so I went searching to see what I could find.

Some items I found:

  • The company founders are Will Bailey, a Texas native, and Ani Bailey, a Boston native and attorney who’s now a “California girl”.
  • They have a PR firm that placed the same article about them on a bunch of different sites. (Smart!)
  • They wanted their Website to be as cozy as a visit to a café. Thus, the Tea Tunes on their site. What’s a café without music?
  • Ani studied in Spain and was inspired to follow her passion for tea that began in childhood to open her own version of a Moorish tea house (teterias).
  • Ani writes guest blog posts on the benefits of tea, usually clear and understandable, with source citings.

Their Website has a lot of health information posted. In some places, they cite no sources, but I was very happy to see other places where there were plenty of source material citings. A lot of health claims are being made these days, often without any medical study citings. We all need to make sure that such claims are supported by science and fact, not just folklore. I would encourage Will and Ani to add citings to any page where a health claim is posted.

Like many tea vendors, the Baileys label all of their products as “teas,” even those not made from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis). I would encourage them and others to rethink this and make a concerted effort to educate their customers. Labeling their herbals and rooibos as “infusions” is a good place to start. Tea is complicated enough without throwing all those non-teas into the mix. Just a thought.

Some of the teas that I’ll be sampling have been reviewed by others. Teaviews.com has several, with most ratings being at least 7 out of 10. There are also ratings on the California Tea House site and, for the most part, people seem to be rating teas 3-to-5 out of 5 stars. We’ll see how that translates into teapots. Should be fun!

Reviews will be posted on Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews.

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