TGT Beverly Hills Featured in World Tea News
25 Apr 2011
By Howard Riell, World Tea News Contributor
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.
The 24-seat Green Teaist entertains guests as much with its tableside theatrical presentation as it satisfies them with a first-class selection of teas.
|Manager Anna Diaz|
The shop, like its 30-seat sister location in the North Shore Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, serves more than 25 varieties of green tea - Sencha, Genmaicha, Yamecha, Kukicha,Gyukoro, Bancha, Hojicha and a TGT Blend among them - as well as light accompaniments such as chocolate truffles, tea sandwiches, tea waffles, and Matcha Panna Cotto.
But what keeps many of its regular patrons coming back is the service, education, ambiance - in short, the theater of serving freshly brewed tea.
Indeed, General Manager Anna Diaz calls the theatrical element of the Green Teaist experience "actually the most important. The ambiance here is very Zen-like. We want people to come in here and enjoy tea."
A step-by-step breakdown of the theatrical experience that Green Teaist loyalists have come to expect looks like this:
1. It begins with the servers' logoed uniforms: black slacks, green shirt - the color of tea -- and black vest.
2. Next comes what Diaz calls the establishment's "beautiful eating arrangements." Guests are presented with a wooden tray with eight glass vials containing tea leaves. "We present these to the table. When you open up one of the vials you can actually savor the aroma; you can see the freshness and the quality of the leaves, what you're actually going to get in your cup. We go through tasting notes and descriptions of each tea to help the customer decide on which one they'd like to try first. In our salon area we only serve premium grades of tea." In the tea cellar, where prepackaged leaf teas and boxed tea bags are sold, customers have a choice of extra premium, premium and regular grades.
3. The stylish lacquer tray used for service carries a tea pot; pre-measured bamboo tea scoop with the proper amount of leaves that will be steeped in the tea pot in front of the guests; a white carafe with pre-tempered water; a timer; and strainer. Says Diaz, "The temperature of the water is going to be different depending on which tea you've selected."
4. After presenting the glass vials filled with leaf tea, guests are served a Gyokuro Frisson - Gyokuro steeped over ice. This is prepared in an ice teadistiller. Gyokuro Frisson is a palate cleanser and is to be sipped as a fine wine."
5. Next, says Diaz, "the bamboo scoop will be presented to the guest, and the server may say, 'This is eight grams of this kind of tea.' The guests will see the leaves presented to them, they'll savour the bouquet. Then we'll take the bamboo scoop and pour it into the teapot" which also varies depending on the variety chosen.
6. "And after that we'll take the pre-tempered water and pour it over the leaves and start the timer. For instance, if we're going to be doing Gyokuro we'll be doing three minutes. We'll steep that, place your tea cups - which are pre-heated - down, and place the strainers inside them."
7. After the tea is steeped the server will pour from tea cup to tea cup to balance the flavor of the tea. "If there are two guests we'll pour half a cup for the first then half a cup for the second," says Diaz, "then come back one more time to each and fill it to three quarters. We do this to balance the flavor of the tea."
8. Finally, she adds, "you also get a chocolate truffle with your tea, a little bit of sweetness to accompany it. And that's it. It's more of an educational presentation that we're providing. The guests are always fascinating because they get to watch the tea steep and the leaves unravel."
The Beverly Hills location is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and on Sunday and Monday for private events such as tea parties and baby and bridal showers.