#11, Visit 8 fabulous boutiques, 3/8
The other day I was in Pasadena (again, I know, I love it there) and I found the sweetest little tea boutique. It’s in Old Pasadena, off Colorado on DeLacey Street. It’s called Bird Pick tea & herb. I happened to stop in on the very day that Prince died, and they were already paying tribute to the artist with a purple tea medley.
The boutique is a restful place which feels like a Starbucks on serenity. Tea canisters line the walls, and they sell both loose and packaged teas, tea accessories, and tea drinks made to order.
The loose teas are also available online. They sell several varieties, such as Apple Verbena fruit tea, Balsam Pear, Black Forest fruit tea, and their own blend of black Breakfast tea.
They sell cast iron and ceramic tea pots, honey sticks, and tea strainers too.
Some of the “BP Signature Iced fusions” at the tea bar had names like Tropical Sunrise, BP Arnold Palmer, and Lavender Lemonade. I generally drink tea without sugar or any flavorings, but I was really pleased with the Purple Rain. It was sweetened with cane sugar, and had bright, clear flavors that were fruity/herbal- not at all cloying or artificial tasting.
The sign below explains the name Bird Pick tea & herb. If you can’t read it, it says, “The name bird pick originates from an ancient practice of cultivating the finest tea leaves. Extraordinary birds with acute senses would pick out the best leaves for their own nourishment. We strive for the same standards by selecting the most aromatic leaves to make our special blend of teas.”
Bird Pick tea & herb currently has three locations: two stores and a tea bar. Unfortunately, none of the stores is close enough for me to pop in at will. I decided to experiment with a tea concoction at home to sustain me between sojourns to Pasadena or West LA.
I have recently been given a Capresso Iced Tea maker by my friend Inel. (Truth be told, I just wanted a replacement for my second Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker that I’d worn out, but Ms. Inel was having none of that plastic pitcher business. She bought me the Capresso instead. And yes, I know iced tea is easy to make with a pitcher and a few teabags but I was given an Iced Tea Maker for my wedding shower in 1993 and I’ve loved it ever since.)
The Capresso came with a recipe booklet and I was pleased to see a lychee tea recipe in it. I figured a little bit of finagling and I could make my own Purple Rain at home. If you’re unfamiliar with lychee fruit, this is a nice short video you might want to watch.
I bought bulk hibiscus leaves at Vallarta market ($1) which are used for Jamaica. I bought a can of lychee fruit in cane syrup from Gelson’s ($6).
I filled the tea compartment with hibiscus leaves, filled the reservoir with water, filled the pitcher with ice and pressed the brew button.
Once the hibiscus tea was ready, I poured ice in a glass, added a lychee fruit to the glass and poured the tea about 3/4 full. I added lychee syrup from the can to sweeten it to my taste.
It tasted wonderful! I managed to make my own Purple Rain at home. It’s much easier to pick up a drink from Bird Pick tea & herb, but I enjoyed the experience of trying to make it at home.
258 days to go!