Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A zillion teas back in stock!

Friends! Thank you so much for your patience during the awkward adolescent phase of FA's development. I just got a massive shipment of leaf in today, so all your favorites are back in stock! This means you can now order all the following popular teas again! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Also, our fabulous and ever-popular tea presses back in stock! YAY! I know many of you have been waiting for these super patiently. They are so pretty and are amazingly well made. I feel like mine will probably last FOREVER. And believe me, I abuse them magnificently.

Oh, Ti Kwan Yin. So pretty and delicious.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Really good iced tea is not as difficult as you think.

Ok you guys, it's totally iced tea season! 

First of all, I would like to state that we have a rockin' deal on our iced tea pack over on the website. Everything you need to brew a TON of delicious iced tea for only $25. Score! Included in the pack is a sheet of my instructions for perfect iced tea, so you can be sure it will be super delicious every time. All your friends will be very impressed with your ridiculously tasty iced tea.

Don't you want to be drinking this right now?
Secondly, I would like to assert that making really phenomenal iced tea with loose leaf is so easy you will feel silly for being nervous about it all these years. A-like so:

Step one: Fill two T-Sac (or other bags, or filters, or whatever you use for loose leaf) with 1 tablespoon each of delicious, magical loose leaf tea. Place one bag each in two big ol' teapots (6-8 cup capacity).

Step two: Fill your kettle with 1/2 gallon (preferably filtered) cold water. 

Step three: Boil that water! (for white/green tea, lightly and gently bring that water to a bare simmer!)

Step four: Pour that water over your tea in the teapots!

Step five: Steep that tea maybe a little stronger than you normally would!

Step six: Pour that tea over ice in a big ol' pitcher!

Step seven: Drink that iced tea!

Easy! Now obviously, this is a jumping-off point. If you like your tea stronger, use more leaf. If you don't have two mondo teapots, use whatever vessels you have around! If you have questions, email Friday and ask! You officially no longer have any excuse to be drinking sub par iced tea.

On another note!

Hey, it is almost Mother's Day! Maybe your momma would enjoy this gorgeous gift basket! It includes 2 ounces each of any two teas of your choice, as well as an endangered species mesh ball infuser and a lovely green teacup with saucer. Regularly $32, but you can use the coupon code "MamasDay" for 20% off!
Just like this, but wrapped in pretty cellophane and with a personalized gift tag!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Synesthesia And Blending As Sensory Art

I am frequently asked how I get ideas for my blends. Where does my inspiration come from? Which comes first, the blend or its name?

I'm proud of how original my blends are, and how different from blends you'll find by any other company. This is largely due to the fact that I have synesthesia (meaning my senses are cross-wired and abstract concepts, personalities, colors, weather, etc. all translate to me as flavor). My dominant forms are referred to as "lexical-gustatory," "auditory-tactile," and "mirror touch." It's fascinating stuff for sure, and has made my life and relationships more complicated. On the flip side, I have discovered a practical use for my brain-strangeness! Like many synesthetes before me (Jimi Hendrix, Tori Amos, Richard Feynman, Vladimir Nabokov, etc.), I've translated my particular brand of strange into a career.

Synesthesia salad. credit: jessicahagy.info/

My personal experience with synesthesia leads me to experience just about everything as flavor/tactile sensation (I can't differentiate between the two). I think of an abstract, or one is mentioned to me (a character, a personality trait, a feeling, etc.), and I register it as a flavor profile, complete with mouthfeel (full-bodiedness, texture) and all the complexities of a delicate blend. Which is exactly what I do with it now. This is my way of relating to my world. Here's an example:

I love sci-fi. LOVE it. My parents are both huge trekkies. Like most geeks, I'm a huge Firefly fan. Friends asked me to put together a series of Browncoat blends, which was super easy. The show does a gorgeous job of defining characters clearly, making them easy to taste and, therefore, blend. Let's look at Captain Mal's Blend.

Mal = Tea, fig, cacao. Duh.

I experience this character as a full-bodied, musky, slightly tangy flavor. Earthy, rounded and slightly sweet, Mal is to me a blend of Ceylon and Pu-Er black teas with cacao nib and fig. No brainer. Also not a blend any other company would ever think of putting together, nor would anyone outside my worldview see it coming. But I find that when people hear the ingredients, taste the blend, smell the blend, etc., there is often this moment I get to witness in their reaction. This kind of "Oh, yeah! That's totally Mal!" reaction which delights and validates me.

This is how I do all my blends. I don't put thought of flavor profiles into it in the traditional sense. To me, on the rare occasion a blend doesn't come together perfectly the first time, I examine the shapes present in the flavor profile in order to determine what flavor is missing. When I think about a flavor, it registers as a shape. If a blend is missing something, I can taste what shape isn't strong enough.

A complete flavor profile must contain a certain number of triangles, squares, ovals, and circles. Each shape has colors associated with it, and certain flavors. For example, pineapple is a triangular, lime-green flavor. chocolate is a brown, square flavor. If a blend isn't sharp enough, I know I need to add more triangles. I run through an inventory of triangular flavors in my mind (pineapple, garlic, clove, lemon, lime, salt, mango), and find the one which is exactly the right hue to complete the color circuit matching the abstract concept.

I'm sure you can see now why I haven't shared much of my experience throughout my adult life. It's so complicated and strange, I've been afraid of people judging me, thinking I was a freak. My dear friend Amy recently convinced me to share my experiences, my point of view, my technique. She thinks it will help people relate to and enjoy my teas more, and I think she may be right. She usually is. :)

I know this is all confusing, so please feel free to ask any and all questions you may have!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We survived March!

Hello hello, friends, fans and family! March was the craziest of months for us, but mostly in really great ways. Here's the breakdown:

Consonance (March 1st-3rd)
I started out the month in sunny San Jose, California, selling tea to a bunch of filkers at Consonance. It was a pretty good show for sales, and an awesome show for meeting wonderful new friends. It was lovely to be back in my home state, but the travel costs ended up being more than the profits, making it the only show on which I have ever actually lost money. Whoops. Will I go back next year? Definitely, but only if I can figure out how to make financial sense of it.

Cooking Class (March 7th)
Taught a class on tamales at Cook's World. I really enjoy teaching these classes, they're so much fun! Three hours of hands on learning with a small class. We do tamales, salsa, chili sauce, and a ridiculously awesome cabbage slaw with pineapple, habañero, serrano, and jalapeño. It's always such a blast, plus I usually end up taking home a dozen or more tamales. Yum.

Faerie Steampunk Tea Party (March 9th)
Can I just say: I love my job. I LOVE that I get to cater events like this. This was up at Otherworlds in Edmonds. Brynn runs the coolest little shop and lets me do awesome events there. This was the first event I've worked at Otherworlds, and I can't wait to do more! Check it out:

Ignore the doofus look on my face, focus instead on the creepy creature in the teacup. Tinplate Studios makes these adorable creepy things and we LOVE them.

I make fruit look gorgeous. Just sayin'.

The lovely Brynn enjoying crumpets with Devonshire cream and jam. Yum!

Birthday Party (March 16th)
A really lovely friend had a big ol' birthday party and asked me to cater. Yay! I did cucumber sandwiches, salmon cream cheese sandwiches, crumpets with Devonshire cream and jam, fruit, and cookies, including gluten-free options. It was super fun and everyone was full of tasty food and teas.

Gamestorm (March 22nd)
Holy WOW, gamers apparently love tea. Gamestorm is a massive gaming event down in Vancouver, WA. I'd never attended before, and was totally shocked and overwhelmed by the amazing response! I had a record-breaking sales weekend, almost sold entirely out of product, brought home a few new games, and met some wonderful new friends. So awesome! I'll definitely be back next year.

Sakura-Con (March 29th-31rd)
The biggest event of my career thus far. We're talking MASSIVE. Sakura-Con has somewhere upward of 16,000 attendees, and I think most of them stopped by my booth to taste my teas. I got over sixty contacts to sign up for a mailing list, and again pretty much entirely sold out of product. By the end of the first day I already had a web order from someone who hadn't been able to buy the tea they wanted at the booth. Second record-breaking weekend in a row! Awesome!

So yeah, it's been a month. I now have practically no inventory, no packaging, and orders coming in from the site. Business is exploding, which is hugely awesome and exciting, but totally scary too.

Stay tuned, there are a lot of new things developing with us!