Matcha 101
November 1, 2018
Tea 101: Back to Basics
February 14, 2019

Every year, we host a Tea Blending Class. It is one of our very favorite events, as it gives us a chance to get to know our customers and see their creativity at play. We wanted to give you an in depth look of what to expect from the class.

This year’s Tea Blending Class will be held on January 30 from 7-9pm at Oxford Exchange. To buy tickets, visit any TeBella Tea location or give us a call at (813) 254-1212!

What will you learn?

If you don’t know the first thing about tea blending, never fear! We’d never throw you out on open waters without a sailing lesson first. For the first 20-30 minutes, owner Abigail StClair will give participants a basic run down on how to blend a delicious tea: how to combine flavors, what profiles work best with what base teas, and what impulses to avoid when blending ingredients.

One thing people don’t realize when it comes to tea blending is “less is often more,” according to Abigail. “People often come into the class thinking that the more ingredients you add and the more flavoring you include, the better the end result.  That is not typically the case.  The best teas are often the simplest ones.  Too many flavor combinations can muddle the profile and confuse the palate.”

When considering what to blend, thing about what you already like to drink, or what you’d like to try. Wish you could find a new variation on Earl Grey? Try that!

Blending is a lot like cooking or baking. Opposite flavors make interesting combinations. If you’re stuck for ideas, think of what flavors you already love in food and desserts, and how that can translate to a tea blend. One year, I blended an apricot and lavender white tea that I still drink. I remember another guest blending a lemon and rose black tea that was delicious. The acidity of lemon was softened by the round, lush flavor of the rose.

What all goes into Blending?

We tend to go all out when it comes to blending ingredients. We divide the accoutrements into 3 blending stations: Base Teas, Flavorings, and Dry Ingredients

We provide around 12 base teas: white, green, multiple types of black tea, and caffeine-free options like green and red rooibos. From there, you can select from a variety of flavorings, ranging from citrusy, sweet, floral, spicy, and beyond.

Up next, you’ll add your dry ingredients, of which we provide around 30-40. Rose petals, dried coconut, mint leaves, orange zest, clove, you name it, we’ve probably got it!

Our staff will be on hand to cup guests’ teas as they go, so they can see if the flavor profile is where they want it to be. Abigail will also help throughout the class, providing feedback and answering any questions guests may have about the blending process.

Creativity abounds

I asked Abigail what she loves about the blending class, and she shared: “I absolutely love teaching people about tea—any aspect of tea. But our blending class is one of my favorite ways to engage people about tea because it gets customers involved in a very personal way.  It allows them to get creative and interact with our teas and botanicals in ways most people will never experience.”

Sometimes a customer creates a tea we love so much, we add it to our tea collection! “Two years back a customer created a variation on Earl Grey that included vanilla and orange peel,” according to Abigail. “It was beautifully smooth and well balanced. We have actually added that one to our menu. He named it Sunshine Grey.”

Any other memorable teas? “I have seen a lot of really great blends emerge from this class, actually” Abigail says. “Several years ago a customer blended a creamy black tea with cinnamon, coconut, and cacao nibs to create a really decadent breakfast tea that I continue to recreate every year.”

Will you be joining us this year? We sure hope so, and we can’t wait to see what you create!

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Tea Blending 101
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