Tea is a drink made from the dried leaves of the plant Camelia Sinensis. This plant is native to the foothills of the southern and eastern Himalaya mountain range in Asia. It is now cultivated in many places around the world.

White tea is the most delicate and least processed- it is simply plucked and withered-it is delicate and often floral.

Green tea is created when the freshly dried leaves are “dry fired”- a Chinese process that quickly heats the leaves, killing enzymes that would lead to oxidation and effectively “fixing” the leaf in its current state. Japanese and Chinese styles of green are the most popular. Chinese style tea is more vegetal in flavor- think cooked greens. Japanese style tea is steamed instead of  “dry fired” resulting in a stronger flavor- think freshly sprouted greens or dark green grass.

The Oolong category is between green and black tea- this style of tea exists within a mid-range spectrum of oxidization and is usually (though not always) crafted from a tightly rolled tip-and-two-leaf pick that is carefully sourced from specific Oolong cultivars- this processing style tends to bring out a tea’s natural florality and offers numerous steepings.

Black tea is made from fully oxidized leaves, and for us it is usually sourced from single origin tea gardens that are chosen to really highlight their incredibly varied terroirs. A quality black tea is sophisticated, with flavor nuances ranging from tobacco and leather to sweet aromatic stone fruits. Black tea is perfect to drink alone, although adding milk and sugar to nearly any black tea will create divinity in a cup. The Chinese actually refer to black tea as “red tea” as its liquor is often closer to a deep reddish color.

Pu’erh tea is made by an ancient and complicated process that actually ferments the tea leaves themselves.  It originally comes from a regional domain in southern China known as Pu’erh (similar to Champagne in France). This style of tea is richly earthy tasting and can very dramatically in flavor due to its many nuanced processing styles. Pu’erh provides many unique health benefits due to its fermentation.

Tea (Camelia Sinensis) offers a near infinite variety of flavors owing to its processing, its natural factors resulting from individual cultivar genetics, and each tea garden’s age, soil, climate, and year-to-year seasonal variations.  We tea advocates love to explore and appreciate these endless possibilities.

Lastly,  drinks brewed from any plants other than Camelia Sinesis can be referred to as herbal teas or tisanes. Herbal teas are made from flowers, leaves, seeds, and spices from an astonishing assortment of plants. Yerba mate, Rooibos and our Ayurvedic blends are just a few examples of delicious, healthful, herbal teas that come from plants sourced from around the world.

Loose leaf teas are full-leaf,  usually hand-picked teas whose quality and beauty are visually evident.  Loose leaf tea is superior to standard bagged tea both for its enhanced flavor and health benefits that comes when brewing its full-sized delicate leaves, and the enhanced  joy that comes from this ritualized tea experience itself. Often times bagged tea is filled with very fine low grade tea “fannings” – what is essentially tea-dust that is left over on the sorting table after the higher-quality loose leaf tea has been sorted out first. This low-grade tea can be “hidden” in bags and passed on to the consumer as “quality” or “value”.  The bleached tea bags, metallic staples and cotton stings also serve to alter the taste of the brewed tea.  We believe you deserve better. Tea drinking culture has been alive and active for thousands of years- bringing pleasure and social depth to millions of people. This joy and tradition is still alive with us today and our loose-leaf teas foster its continuation. We are thrilled to share our love and knowledge of tea with you through our incredible tea selection.

Hawaiian tea has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason! The prime volcanic soil and sub-tropical climate is perfectly suited for the growing of select strains of camellia sinensis- our beloved tea plant. Recently, Brad was able to travel to the big island of Hawaii, visit some small tea gardens, and bring island tea back to our Salt Lake City teahouse.

Historically, tea production in the US has been nearly non-existent. Its not that our climate wouldn’t support tea, because many regions would. Its more that this labor intensive crop simply demands too much select hand picking, and our agricultural labor is far more expensive than that of other famous tea growing regions. This would be especially true for mega-plantation, mass-produced bagged tea destined for grocery store shelving- such a venture would prove a disasterous failure in American soil. Ah, but enter the small plantation craft tea!

As Americans are awakening to tea, with all its varities and styles, appreciation and demand are growing. Perception has shifted and we now realize bagged tea is boring! But fine-picked loose leaf tea is amazing! And although the cost is greater, the quality and the flavor more than justify it.

The Hawaiian Department of agriculture has been at least partly responsible for the dozens of tea gardens now popping-up through out the islands. With the decline in the sugarcane market, tea has been embraced as a suitable alternative crop with economic potential. Grants have been given, tea cultivation education has been promoted, and cultivars and cuttings have even been made available to growing community of passionate hawaiian tea growers. How exciting!

Obviously, creating a tea garden doesn’t happen overnight, so Hawaiian tea is still in its infancy, but many plants are growing and will soon be ready to offer their finest young leaves.

The favorite tea garden visited was Mauna Kea Teas, a bit north-west of Hilo. Truly a grass-roots venture, children play in the garden that is located in a small and lovely valley immediatley behind this young family’s home. The Tea Grotto was able to secure a small amount of tea from Mauna Kea’s very limited supply. We are pleased to offer their first and second flushes from summer of 2013. Both picks are wonderful, producing a clean and refreshing cup with subtle floral undertones, similar to Fujian Chinese greens with a notable Hawaiian Island vibe! Be sure to try one of these special pots! (These teas are not yet available online. You’ll have to come into the shop in Salt Lake City to try this unique tea.)

First, you have an almost endless number of choices in iced teas and herbal drinks. With more than 130 different varieties, you can cool off with just about any flavor you can imagine. If you’ve visited us before, you know each drink is uniquely made to order, so it’s as fresh as it gets.

Our in house teapresso machine allows us to use the correct temperature of water and a very high pressure to fully extract all the subtle flavors from our teas, fruits and herbs. We also use the right quantity for each tea, which often means we use far more tea during each steeping to ensure the richest flavor than you would typically get elsewhere.

Next, we vigorously hand shake your tea over ice. This shaking rapidly chills the hot infusion, ensuring the best flavors and coldest tea possible.

Finally, your tea is sweetened to your preference and finished by serving it frothy in a tall glass. We’re sure you’ll agree that no one does iced tea better!

Boba Tea and Blended Drinks

We also serve amazing blended drinks that are a summer favorite. Made to order milk teas blended over ice, and served with boba that is prepared fresh daily. Favorites include Vanilla Chai, Green Tea Latte, Thai Tea, Mango and more. Perfect for when you are craving something sweet, creamy, and fun!

Blended drinks are a refreshing treat!

Meta tags are search words used by sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Microsoft, Apple, Mac, Windows to find Teagrotto.com website. SEO, search engine optimization looks for words like: tea, loose leaf, looseleaf, tees, premium, quality, organic, fine, finest, best teas, tisanes, herbal, medicinal, drinks, beverages served by the cup, pot or dispenser, steep, steeped, steeping hot, cold, iced or brewed. Teagrotto.co or teagrotto.com or teagrotto teagroto serves at the teashop, teahouse, tea house and restaurant, cafe, lounge for eating, dining, snacking or bites of food, sandwiches, soup, pastries both healthy, tasty, flavorful, nutritious and good, great, wonderful and superior. Located near Liberty park, 9th and 9th district, 9th & 9th, close to downtown, Sugar House and Millcreek in SLC, Salt Lake City in UT, Utah in West, Western, Northwestern USA. Kid friendly, handicap accessible and pets are welcome outside. Outdoor seating, outside table, easy parking. Tea Grotto has been in the tea business in Salt Lake since 2004, longer than Teavana, Teazanti, Emperor’s or Queens. Tea Grotto is a vendor for bulk tea online or in store shopping, sales, purchase, buy, buying and can be picked up, delivered, shipped, shipping or mailed. One of the largest selection of tea vareities available both at the teahouse or through the web, online, on line, or e-commerce. TeaGrotto offers wholesale pricing on bulk tea to restaurants or retail stores. Tea tasting events, catering and steeping demonstrations can be arranged. Enjoy teatime. Please contact teagrotto.com with any suggestions to improve website or online shopping experience.

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