80 South Bay Accent previous pages: shuterstock. This page, left to right: Courtesy of steepers; shuterstock. oposite page: Courtesy of teavana Steepers When Julie Davey was growing up in England, she hated tea. She remembers her parents preparing a dark, over-steeped, bitter beverage. Yuck! So why would she open a tea shop? Since her negative introduction, she has learned that there’s much more to the drink than the chopped sweepings in a teabag. Launched a year ago in downtown Campbell, the shop carries 180 loose leaf teas and approximately 40 herbal teas. It’s an ideal spot for getting up to tea speed and experiencing a variety of blends, as Davey is eager to share her knowledge about loose leaf and herbal, steeping times and best temperatures to brew. Tea Era You’ll first notice the customer line that flows out the door both day and night. “Is this your first time?” asks a gentleman stopping by after work. “I come here every week. I have to have my milk tea.” Tea Era is so tiny that only four people can line up at a time to place their orders to go. But what it lacks in space, it makes up for in taste and variety. Customers may purchase at least 20 different teas that can be served hot or cold. The most popular is roasted barley milk tea, which can be adjusted according to sweetness. Like other Asian tea shops, the cold drinks are made with brewed tea and syrups, and customers can request add-ons such as tapioca pearls or grass jelly. Place your order and then watch servers pour the contents into a plastic cup. The cup is then placed in a machine that covers its top with a clear plastic seal, and then it’s quickly moved into another machine that shakes the dickens out of it. You can get your fix of jasmine, oolong and even Earl Grey here, but the fun is in the assortment of tea additives: lavender, violet, rose, chestnut, taro, dark plum, green apple. Indeed, it’s hard to wrap your mind around a peanut milk tea or even a grapefruit green tea, so you’ll simply have to dive in and try one. Locations: 271 Castro St., Mountain View; 20916 Homestead Road, Cupertino. www.teaeracafe.com “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” she says. “I want this place to be an education center.” Customers stopping in learn to steep green tea for three minutes in temperatures under boiling, at about 185 degrees, and to use a heaping teaspoon for a 12-ounce mug. Davey will also tell you how loose leaf teas are superior to traditional teabags and she’ll point to the “smelling station,” so you can experience the delicious scents for yourself. Steepers is the only place in town where customers can create their own blends. In addition, the store carries a variety of tea giftware and sells hot and cold teas by the cup. Location: 346 E. Campbel Av e., Campbel. www.steepers.net. Launched a year ago in downtown Campbell, the shop carries 180 loose leaf teas and approximately 40 herbal teas.
South Bay Accent - Oct/Nov 2014
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