I was standing in line at Savvy Tea Sunday afternoon to buy some of my favorite tea, when I heard Tristan Barsky talking with Donna Durand and Chelsea Durand.
"What is it?" he asked, holding up a foil packet of tea for the women to inspect. They laughed. "I'll ask," he said, and got in line behind me. I asked to see. He held out the foil packet. Underneath the elegant Savvy Tea logo was a label.
"Float A Dead Mouse On It" Irish Breakfast Blend, it said.
I had to laugh too. I let him go ahead of me so that I could hear the explanation.
"I'm from Ireland. We like our tea strong."
Judy Guard, one of the teahouse owners, gave the following explanation. A Savvy Tea customer said he was looking for a really strong blend of black tea. "I'm from Ireland," he said. "We like our tea strong. Strong enough to float a dead mouse on it."
So Phil Parda, Judy's partner at Savvy Tea, came up with a very strong blend that includes Assam, a black tea from Assam, India known for being brisk and bold. Tristan decided to buy some to try. I did too.
And that's just one of the many reasons why I love Savvy. I love their tea. I love the attention to detail and Phil's extensive knowledge about tea. I love that they always have my favorite tea (Keemun Feather Tip/Mao Feng from the Anhui Province of China) and that there is always something new to try (I won't be floating a dead mouse on it, though!). I love the tea tastings on Saturday afternoons. I love talking with Judy when I stop in. And I love meeting people from all over the world there, including France (see my article from this past Mother's Day), Montreal (Tristan), Guilford (Donna), and Killingworth (Chelsea).
Best little tearoom in Connecticut
I'm not the only one who loves Savvy. It was recently named the Best Tearoom in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine:
Whether you’re a tea aficionado or just want to learn, this modern-day tea shop/café (forget grandma’s tearoom) is the place. Owners Phil Parda and Judith Guard offer 300 loose-leaf teas from around the globe, as well as tea education. Come to browse, buy or taste, perhaps at a Saturday tea (by reservation) or tasting (no reservations). Every day, sandwiches, salads, quiches, etc., are offered in a café setting.
The sandwiches, salads, and quiches are delicious. The café setting, one that is the result of careful planning and an enormous investment of money by the owners, is delightful. But really, truly, at its core, Savvy Tea is about tea. It's about brewing it, drinking it, and enjoying it just the way you like it.
People travel from all over to learn from the guy we have right here in town
We're lucky to have them here in town. People travel from all over the country to learn about tea from Phil. On Sunday, in fact, he was at World Tea Expo-East in Philly, teaching and helping to certify tea professionals. He's on the Board of Directors at the Specialty Tea Institute in New York City, and has developed a curriculum to educate people about tea. He is one of the institute's favorite and most highly rated teachers.
"This is a man who has spent more than 30 years studying tea," Judy says. "And it's real world knowledge. He has his feet in the tea gardens. I'm very proud of him."
And we're lucky to have both of them right here in our little town.
I'll let you know how that "Float A Dead Mouse On It" tea is, as soon as I try it. Tristan says he'll let us know as well.