Friday, April 24, 2009

Root Beer Floats

Shortly after I opened, a customer came in and asked me if I carry root beer tea. I didn't; and it sounded both weird and intriguing but to be honest, I forgot about it shortly thereafter. She came in about a month ago and asked again; so I decided to work on a root beer tea.

It's ready. It's a black tea and it smells just like root beer. When you drink it hot, at first it's a bit strange because it's not sweet, and root beer is not usually hot and flat unless you leave it in your car on a summer day when you spend a few hours get all sweaty outside and then you get into the car looking for something refreshing and take a swig of hot root beer; and it's not refreshing, but it is strangely delicious. Just like my new root beer flavored black tea when you drink it hot.

But when I sweetened it a little and added seltzer - it was pretty much root beer! So starting today, I'm offering root beer tea, sparking root beer iced tea, and root beer floats!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Now I'm a Twit

Thank you, EJ, for helping me become a twit. I am now tweeting at http://twitter.com/goodleaftea . I don't really know what I'm doing yet, but it seems pretty simple. I'm going to tweet about what's going on with The Good Leaf - like when I create new blends, set up specials, and bake peanut butter and jelly scones. You can view twittering on the sidebar of this blog and on my web home page. I invite you to follow my tweets (is that right, EJ?)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Online Audio Stress Management Programs

Here's a blast from my past.

Many of you know that I am a licensed psychologist and prior to opening The Good Leaf, I worked in psychology for well over a decade. For me, the transition from psychology to tea was a gradual one that culminated in what was, in one way, a drastic change, but in other ways, not so much.

I practiced psychology from a positive perspective and offered stress managment, mind/body and life enhancement services to my clients. My approach was always to help people find simple and manageable approaches to experiencing a good life. While I was working in psychology, and as my interest in tea began to grow, I began to see tea as the official beverage of the good life. My clients were seeking simple solutions, and there's no simpler one than the one you can drink! In a quest for consumable solutions many people try to eat or drink away their troubles, but we all know how well that works. While not a universal panacea, tea is pretty close to a magic elixir and I promise that the tea hangover is much more pleasant than the martini hangover.

When I chose to pursue the tea business full-time, I did so whole-heartedly and knew that I would not have the time or energy to continue my psychology practice. My regret was letting go of the resources and programs I created. So I kept my websites, michellemarks.com and positiveplan.com published. The problem is that I still get calls from prospects and must explain that I'm no longer practicing. I'm sure they wonder why I keep the websites active.

Recently I realized that with a little creativity, I can find ways to bridge the two disciplines and offer people wellness solutions combining tea with the positive and mindfulness based type of psychology I practiced. The little creativity hasn't arrived yet (it's still brewing), but in the meantime, I offer you a page from my past life. Click here for a few online audio programs that teach deep breathing, relaxation and mindfulness skills. These were the foundational skills I shared with my clients, and they offer far-reaching health and well-being benefits.

I hope you find them valuable.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Tea and Vegan Friendly Options



I just brought in a new blooming tea. I'm no longer carrying the Blooming Lily White Tea. This new one is a Blooming Green Tea with a Red Flower and Jasmine scent. I know that blooming teas are very popular these days, but I've had trouble with some of the mass produced varieties; the more elaborate ones tend to fall apart and sometimes they just taste pretty awful. I have also seen some exquisite blooming teas that are obviously well crafted and taste wonderful, but these come at a premium plus price point. I like this one because it's not too fancy so it tends to bloom without problems, it tastes nice and it works well for multiple infusions. Plus, it's not crazy expensive.

One more thing: I've been working to offer more options to my vegan customers and now offer a nice vegan cookie with carrots, oatmeal, walnuts and coconut. It's adapted from a recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, 101 cookbooks. I'm also offering almond milk and hemp milk in addition to soymilk as vegan friendly drink options. Hemp milk - who knew? It's good.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Baked Things



Recently it was brought to my attention that many people don't know that I offer fresh baked goodies at The Good Leaf, so today I'm blogging about baking.

Since I've been in the tea business, I discovered that I love baking. I always considered myself much more of a cook than a baker given my intuitive style and defiant streak which I figured did not work well with baker's formulas. Early attempts at baking were .... bad. But what started with a small batch of scones I baked up for my weekend stints At the Warehouse, has become pretty much an obsession. I have grown to love the science of baking and more than that, the fragrance of baking. Now, I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how to bake rosewater madeleines, chipotle brownies, thumbprint scones, or how to improve on a basic yellow cupcake recipe.

Baking for the teahouse has been a challenge given time, space and traffic; but it's been a lot of fun. I bake everything myself from my home kitchen or in the shop, and up until this point, I've been feeding the obsession; baking what I researched on the web or dreamed about the previous night or what would strike my fancy in the morning.

So I figure I'll tell you about some of the things I've been baking lately. During the week, I mostly have cookies available, with an expanded selection on the weekends. Because I don't have access to a full service or large scale baker's kitchen, I bake in small batches, but I am able to take special orders given a couple of days notice.

Home Baked Stuff you might find at The Good Leaf Gourmet Tea Company
  • Tea Infused Butter Cookies: Earl Grey, Green Tea, Persian Scented (fyi: this is not a cookie that smells like a Persian; it's a pistachio, cardamom, rosewater cookie - I'm taking a little break from this one until the pistachio problem is solved)
  • Big Cookies: Chinese Style Almond, Traditional Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and my favorite - Sweet and Salty Pretzel/Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  • Cupcakes: Red Velvet, Green Tea, Lemon
  • Muffins: Sweet or Savory
  • Teacakes: Lavender scented, Orange, Chai Spiced
  • Madeleines: Traditonal genoise a la Proust or sometimes non-traditional a la Michelle
  • Brownies
  • Scones: Ranging from blueberry to cranberry walnut to peanut butter and jelly

If I can figure out how to twitter or tweet or whatever it is that tells people what you are doing every second of the day in real time, maybe I'll start telling you what I baked each day. If someone wants to tell me how to do that, that would be awesome.