Business trips are really not my favorite thing. They involve a lot of things that aren't in my comfort zone: make up, dress clothes, lots of being "on" - and I am really a pretty committed homebody. This past week I had a business trip that took me to Detroit, but there was a very happy ending to the trip. I was able to meet my long-time Steepster tea friend Cheri, and we spent a full afternoon drinking tea and enjoying treats at TeaHaus in Ann Arbor. Cheri and I have become a chummy threesome with Steph, and the three of us talk just about daily. Meeting Cheri was like seeing a long lost friend, and it felt like we had known each other for ages.
But, you want to hear about the tea! We went to TeaHaus not really anticipating that we would be able to do a tea service but we figured we could get some tea and that would make us happy. The friendly lady behind the counter let us know that reservations were needed and the full service was $28. After a pause I asked, "So we can't do anything while we are here?" She said we could but it would cost $30 each instead. What a no brainer! We were totally in. A few minutes later we were sitting at a table ready to go. I took lots of pictures because I want you to feel like you were there too.
This is not your grandma's tea service. There's lots of wood and warmth. The walls are lined with tea themed books. The china is minimalistic and the light fixtures scream Ikea. It's the sort of place you want to visit and stay for hours. And in the hours that we were there, we could see that it is a favorite hangout for many people.
Our server asked what we wanted to start out with and we asked if we could order two different teas or if we needed to order the same one. Then she said the magic words, "You can have as many different teas as you want!" I'm not sure she knew what she was getting into. She told us that the record was 19 different teas, and Cheri and I made that our goal. If I'm being totally honest, I can't remember all of the teas that we tried. I can remember many of them though, but I got way too full of tea to give you a play by play. I know I started with a Strawberry Mint Lavender black tea, mostly because it was a flavor combination I had never had, and also because I wanted to make sure to try one of their "Haus Blends." Cheri was feeling oolong-y and had Formosa Dark Pearl.
The first course of the food was a smoky tomato soup made in house with their Lapsang tea. Many of the items that we ate were tea influenced (which was really neat). In fact, TeaHaus is opening a companion business around the corner where they will sell foods such as their macarons and tea infused caramels.
We both tried the soup and liked it well enough but neither of us finished it. There was a lot more food to follow and we weren't able to eat everything. We came close though.
For the next round of teas we asked Lisa, the owner, to just pick for us. She asked a few questions about our preferences and then brought me an Assam SFTGFOP1 Mokalbari 2nd flush tea (which I loved) and brought Cheri China Milky Jade (which she loved). I highly recommend letting the experts order for you folks!
Our server brought out the tiered plate stand and described each item one by one. It was a lot to remember but I will do my best!
These things go from bottom to top usually, although it's all right there and you can eat it any way you like. We started on the bottom. First was a cucumber sandwich. I have always thought that the idea of a cucumber sandwich was odd, but they are actually pretty good, and light. There was a piece of peppered salami on a bread that had been seasoned with something that I can't quite remember, but Cheri mentioned it was unexpected and very good. There was chicken salad with tarragon on bread, and the last thing we ate from the bottom tier was a piece of toast with fig jam and..goat cheese? I think. It was some sort of soft cheese. It was really interesting in a good way. I liked it. I was having too much fun to take great notes. I know you guys understand.
Next we moved to the scones, and they came with an assortment of toppings: clotted cream, orange marmalade, lemon curd, raspberry jam. We actually went through two plates of toppings. Cheri had a special affinity to the lemon curd and I loved the orange marmalade. The tea was still flowing, I don't remember the exact order but I know we had Sumatra Barisan, China Yunnan Golden Downy Pekoe, Lychee Black, and Pomegranate Elderflower (white) during this time. The scones were blueberry lemon and classic, and according to the website are from Lisa's Welsh grandmother's recipe.
By this point we were getting really full but having such a great time we didn't want to stop. We kept sipping tea and eyeing the remaining food, trying to find room for it all and not wanting to leave anything.
The top tier really deserves its own picture. You can't tell from the photo, but the macarons were huge - probably 3" in diameter. The green one was Guinness (Cheri ate that one and said it tasted like chocolate, yum). The lavender one was blackberry almond and I scarfed that down. I believe I remember them saying that the filling had their Marzipan flavor tea in it, so I had to have that one. The caramels in the middle were infused with their black currant black tea and the note I wrote in my phone was, "black currant caramel omg" because it was spectacular. If you get a chance, try these. I brought one home to my husband. He hasn't tried it yet but if he doesn't like it, I will be all over it. I can't tell you about the chocolate petit fours because we couldn't eat any more, so Cheri took them home to her husband.
There was more tea: Vietnam Yen Bai OP, Hong Cha Java, O'Connor's Cream, and a Cucumber Orange Black that I can't find on the website. If you are keeping score, that's 12 teas total. And they didn't bring them in cups, they brought them by the teapot. After a while they had to come take some back because we were running them out of teapots! I jacked this photo from Cheri's Instagram.
This may seem a little backward, but after we gorged ourselves we visited the tea shop and looked around. There was a lot to see! So many teas.
Happy, colorful teapots.
Everything from tetsubin to bombillas and gourds to Moroccan tea glasses. I didn't get pics of everything but there was great teaware there.
Macarons, caramels and other goodies to take home.
A lasting friendship made over virtual tea and solidified over real tea. Visit TeaHaus, you'll love it!
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