I recently learned that wine is not the only beverage with sommeliers. Tea is also a drink where the nuance and terroir of a region impact the flavor and quality of the tea. During a press trip hosted by Fairmont Hotels, I had the opportunity to attend a tea sommelier workshop with members from the Metropolitan Luxury Tea Group.
The exclusive tea sommelier workshop was a special event for the press trip I was on to learn more about the Fairmont Hotel Brand and its tea program. Although this event is not available to the public, check with your local tea shop. Many are now offering tea-tasting or tea-blending events. Tea sommeliers also offer events.
Here are a few of my favorite teas from this event. I ordered a few from the Fairmont Store. These are luxury teas, and the price reflects that. I feel it is totally worth the splurge and the prices were more reasonable than I expected for the quality of the product.
1. Cold N Flu Tea
The LOT 35 Cold N Flu tea developed a cult following during the pandemic. It is nicknamed the COVID tea due to its soothing properties. A steaming hot cup of tea just hits the spot when one is feeling ill. This blend has a lively lemon ginger with notes of hibiscus that detoxifies and helps flush impurities out of the body. I enjoyed the flavor and delightful aroma. It makes a great gift for someone who is feeling under the weather. If you want to step up your gift, add a Kerstin Florian Mineral Wellness Soak, which has 60 essential minerals and trace elements that detoxify as well.
2. Oregon Mint Tea
I was so intrigued by the LOT 35 Oregon Mint tea. I live near Oregon and have visited many times and had no idea that some of the finest spearmint and peppermint in the world come from farms near the Cascade Mountains. Handpicked, this is an organic tea that is so refreshing. It tastes great over ice and is equally delicious served warm. I like it as an afternoon pick-me-up, and it is decaf, so it won’t affect your sleep. The mint taste of the tea is very mild and delicious and not a harsh mint at all. I think it makes a great gift for a tea lover as it is so unique.
3. Madame Butterfly Loose Leaf Tea
High in the Fujian Mountains of China, you’ll find this rare tea grown just 3 weeks per year. LOT 35 Madame Butterfly is infused for 7 consecutive nights with hand-plucked jasmine buds creating a succulent spring tea. Savor this exclusive tea. This opulent tea is the perfect gift for that person that loves the luxe life. Add an Empress Royal China Cup & Saucer hand-painted with 22-karat gold for a cup worthy of this exclusive tea.
4. Skin & Beauty Tea
Tea for a beauty routine? I don’t know if it enhanced my beauty, but I sure enjoyed this unusual tea. LOT 35 Ski & Beauty Tea ingredients are ginger, turmeric, beetroot, carrot ashwagandha root, dandelion leaves, papaya, and calendula. All are known for their antioxidant properties and help with hydrating and detoxifying your skin. For the perfect gift for the beauty product lover on your list, pair this tea with a Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Algae Gel Masque. Enjoy some self-care time sipping this tea while the masque sets.
5. Reserve Sencha Saemidori Loose Leaf Tea
This tea is only grown 3 weeks a year on an island in southern Japan. LOT 35 Reserve Sencha Saemidori Loose Leaf is a rare tea with less than 9,000 kilos available each year. This delicate green tea has a refreshing taste with sweet, buttery notes. Its pale color belies its flavorful taste. The high antioxidant properties of this tea intensify the longer it is brewed. For the wellness fanatic on your list, this makes a perfect gift alone or paired with other wellness items.
6. Hush Tea
This herbaceous tea is a blend of Tulsi Vana, lemon verbena, hawthorn, bitter fennel, lemon, fennel, lavender, chamomile, valerian, and skullcap. The ingredients in LOT 35 Hush tea are known for their sleep-inducing qualities. Sip this tea to help you relax and promote a good night’s sleep. Pair this tea with Rehydrating Neroli Water for the type A personality on your list. A few spritzes of this uplifting aromatherapy water will help soothe anxiety and provide moisture to dehydrated skin.
Pro Tip: Visit the Fairmont Store for each of these teas and read the instructions. Each tea has listed the best brewing time to bring out the flavor of the tea.
The Fairmont Hotel’s Tea-Tasting Experience
Fairmont LOT 35 teas are sold at the Fairmont store and enjoyed at Fairmont’s famed afternoon tea served at hotels all over the world. Sourced from the top 5 percent of teas and ingredients from around the world, this is one special beverage.
The exclusive tea sommelier workshop with the Metropolitan Luxury Tea Group was led by employees of the company. Imagine my surprise when my group’s leader turned out to be Gerry Vandergrift, the president of the company. With over 40 years in the tea business, he had a wealth of knowledge.
During this workshop, I learned about and tasted 11 teas sold in the Fairmont Store. The teas are the finest, hand-picked loose-leaf teas available in the world. LOT 35 teas are ethically sourced, sustainably farmed, and 100 percent traceable from field to cup. The Fairmont store carries 50-60 teas including bagged, loose-leaf, and iced tea. The company adds seasonal teas throughout the year.
A unique pyramid tea bag that is biodegradable and made from plant-based material is utilized for the bagged teas. The Fairmont Store carries familiar teas such as Creamy Earl Grey or Organic Egyptian Camomile as well as the more exotic blends mentioned in my list. Most teas are available in teabags or as loose tea.
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