Stuffed, I walked across the street to the store that supplies Sunshine Café with its robust menu of teas and herbal infusions. New Mexico Tea Company is a small, super-classy storefront owned by 26-year-old entrepreneur David Edwards. I had an absolute blast hanging out and chatting with him about loose-leaf teas, blends and the comparative merits of the new silky pyramid tea bags (turns out they allow more room for tea leaves to expand) versus the old pillow-style dippers.Edwards is a tea lover’s wet dream—his noggin houses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of everything tea-related.
“All tea comes from the same plant, all four types: black, green, white and oolong,” he said. Then he enlightened me about trendy herbal infusions like Rooibos.
“They’re called tisane [pronounced tee-saan], which means anything that is not tea, like leaves, twigs and berries,” he explained.
Edwards’ collection of teas is quite sophisticated and seems to have something for everyone.
The greens are comprised of gunpowder, sencha, matcha and long ching, the blended greens include Moroccan mint, genmai cha (with the little toasty popped rice kernels), jasmine pearl and a mint-and-lemon gunpowder blend. He carries traditional, pure black teas like lapsang souchong (think deep wood smoke), assam and ceylon, and black blends like Scottish breakfast, huckleberry black, black jasmine cream and Russian caravan.
I purchased an ounce each of jasmine pearl ($5.50), masala chai in sachets (Edwards blends this himself with black pepper, $.65 each) and Casablanca ($3.44), which is my new personal favorite. Casablanca's dueling flavors of green and black teas, infused with mint and bergamot, is spectacular any time of day.
When I asked Edwards if he had any advice to share with newbie tea drinkers, he smiled and said, “Pick a tea you like, and drink a lot of it. It’s really good for you—lots of different antioxidants in both green and black.”Words to steep by, if ever I heard them.