Thursday, May 27, 2010

Closed for the holiday weekend

We'll be closed for the holiday weekend from Friday through Monday.  When we return, we're gonna start some sales and promos for our final month on Lark St.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Next for The Good Leaf

If you get our emails, this post is identical to the email I sent earlier today:

It’s been an interesting few months, and I’m writing today to let you know about some very important changes for ahead The Good Leaf. 

Here’s the biggie:  as of June 26th, I’ll be closing the doors at our Lark Street shop. 

I have such mixed emotions about this.  As I have always shared with you, creating and running the little teahouse has been among the highlights of my life.  I set out to create a unique little space where you could come to experience tranquility and peace; where you could explore the varied and exotic world of fine tea in a warm and friendly environment and; where you could enjoy traditional teas from all over the world and also have fun with contemporary specialty drinks like home-made bubble teas, tea lattes and Jasmine Champagne. 

In that regard, I hope I succeeded, and I am more grateful than I can express for a loyal and growing base of wonderful customers and a great staff.

But I can’t pretend that these aren’t tough times, and there’s no need to share specifics.  We’re all going through it.  Anyway, after much soul searching, I recently realized that it’s time to make a change that will both protect The Good Leaf and allow it to move in an exciting new direction.

About the new direction: Over the years, I’ve become more and more focused and interested in blending and flavoring teas. Having started in 2006 with not a single signature blend, I am now regularly blending dozens of signature varieties.  With interest in these blends growing, the company has reached the point where I’m able to cross into the next frontier.  Starting in the fall, several of our popular blends will be available in eco-friendly biodegradable pyramid tea sachets.  (That’s a long way of saying teabags!)  This is exciting news because, as much as I am a proponent of loose tea, I am really, really into convenience and practicality, and nothing beats teabags for convenience and practicality.  The beauty of the pyramid sachets, aside from the aforementioned eco-friendliness, is that they are designed for fine loose leaf tea, and the sachets allow enough room for the blends to brew perfectly. 

So while our bricks and mortar operation will be closed, The Good Leaf Gourmet Tea Company will remain very much in operation, and moving in exciting new directions.  You’ll always be able to contact me if you want your favorite signature blend, and I’m going to be actively seeking out new wholesale outlets throughout the region.  In fact, if you happen to know of any shop, restaurant or spa that might be a good match for our products, please let me know!

From now until closing (after a weekend off – we’ll be closed for Memorial Day weekend) we’ll be running all kinds of sales, promotions, and even looking to sell much of the furnishings of the shop.  I invite you to stay updated via our blog.  You can also access our facebook fan page and twitter page at our website.

Thank you again for your continued interest, support, and for making our two years on Lark Street such a great time!  I will miss seeing you there, but am looking forward to an always interesting future.  

Saturday, May 22, 2010

a Bubble Tea making Starter Kit for You

Many, many people have asked us to sell bubble tea supplies, so we're doing it.  We have a great deal for you if you want to get into making bubble tea at home.  We're offering a 6.6 lb bag of Grade A Tapioca, two packages of bubble tea straws and a half pound of almond black tea - all for $20.   That is supplies for 80 to 90 servings of bubble tea.  It's a ridiculous value.

Here's how you prepare the boba:

  • Bring water to a boil - use a large pot, the boba expand and need room so they don't stick.
  • Add boba, reduce heat, cover and allow to boil for 35-45 minutes.
  • Shut the heat, keep the lid on and let the boba continue to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse really well.
  • Soak in sweetener; you can use corn syrup or simple syrup (to make simple syrup, take 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, heat to a boil and until the sugar is completely dissolved).

The thing to remember with boba is that it doesn't keep well.  Do not refrigerate it, and use it within several hours of preparing it.

Real Tea Bubble Tea

Many, if not most, bubble tea establishments make delicious and beautiful bubble teas in yummy and exotic flavors like Taro.  The drinks are fun looking, brightly  colored, and super sweet.  They are usually created with a powdered mix loaded with chemicals and calories.  When I started serving bubble tea, I read the list of ingredients and couldn't sell those in good conscience.  You know, a teahouse is a place to get healthy drinks and tea should be healthy.  So I worked out a formula for real tea bubble tea and Almond, as a traditional bubble tea favorite, was my first success.

To make a real tea bubble tea, the concept is simple:  brew yourself some concentrated iced tea, sweeten liberally, add milk (or half and half) if desired, and shake, shake, shake until it's all BUBBLY!  Put a quarter cup of boba in your glass, pour the drink over it, grab your big fat straw, insert (with the pointy side down!), and enjoy!

I enhance the flavors of many of my bubble teas with coffehouse syrups (like Torani, Monin or Davinci) as sweeteners, but simple syrup, honey, agave nectar, and stevia also do the trick.

I estimate the calorie count of a serving of boba to be 80-100 calories, tea is healthy and calorie free, and how you deal with milk and sweetener is up to you.  But all in all, a real tea bubble tea is an fun indulgence that's not bad for you.

Now, I don't have a liquor license so I can't sell these, but but here's a thought for you when you're making Bubble Tea at Home:  Bubble Tea Cocktails!

Come and get it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tulip Fest is Tomorrow - Yay!

Well, the weather may or may not hold up for tomorrows Tulip Fest.  I've been to a few soggy ones in my day; I prefer the dry ones but they're fun in any event.  It should be a busy day at The Good Leaf so we'll be offering a special festival menu and came up with a few new drinks to debut.  Here's a preview of what we'll be offering (unless I change my mind about something):

Teas:  Orange Pekoe black tea, Almond black tea, Root Beer black tea, Tropical Fantasy green tea, Nectar white tea, Formosa oolong tea, Strawberry Fields rooibos and Sweet Tart tisane.

Bubble Teas:  Nectar White, Mango Green, Cinnamon Bun Milk Tea, Black Milk Tea, Almond Milk Tea, Root Beer Float Milk Tea (sorry, without ice cream), Crunch Berry Milk Tea

Specialty Drinks:  Festival Lemonade, House Root Beer, Lark Street Pop and Oolong Ale.  Yeah, they're all tea; check 'em out.

We're getting very excited and hope to see you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kelsey at the BID - Naturally Nature

I am excited to let you know that beginning this First Friday at the Lark Street BID, Kelsey will be showing photography from her trip to Costa Rica last summer.  The show is called Naturally Nature. I invite you to check out her website and visit her exhibit.  The opening reception is this Friday at 5pm and the show will continue all month.  Good job, Kels!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Albany Institute of History and Art

I am pleased to let you know that a small selection of our favorite warm weather teas are now being carried at the Museum Shop at the Albany Insitute of History and Art.  The gift shop features pottery, jewelry, books, local food products and much more.  It's so well stocked it spills out into the museum itself. I tend to love museum shops as a rule, and this one doesn't disappoint, especially now that it carries our tea! But don't just visit the gift shop; the museum is a real find; Current exhibits include the Hudson River Panorama and a collection of gorgeous photos of Egyptian ruins.