by Tom Sims
It was a bitter cold and gray rainy day in the Tower District. Fortunately, I found a parking place in front of my location. When I stepped through the first opening, it was an enclosed patio with tables and chairs. It looked like a great place to sit and sip in a few months and with a few degrees of rising temperature. Another door brought me into a warm, welcoming, and elegantly rustic environment where I was welcomed by two friendly and knowledgeable young women.
Teazer World Tea Market was virtually empty … for a few moments.
That was my first question, “Where is everyone?”
The answer was simple, “Rain.”
It wasn’t long before the rain subsided and the people started coming in as if a tollgate had opened. Before that, however, I had the delightful experience of the undivided and helpful attention of the young ladies behind the counter.
I asked them what they recommended and out came a menu. I was already overwhelmed. Glancing at the displays of sandwiches, deserts, tea-themed merchandise and TEA!!!! There were over a hundred kinds of tea displayed and, I was told, hundreds of combinations.
There are so many combinations that there is an algebraic formula for figuring out how many. The website cites 209.
The young women graciously showed me about five favorites I could try and I chose a Lavender Cream Earl Gray and selected a comfortable seat in a warm place. I had only begun to read my book when my tea was delivered with a cup and a basket infuser, a smile, and an offer to make things right if it was too sweet or not sweet enough.
Where I come from, if you don’t like or prefer something that other people like, you dismiss it with the statement, “That’s not my cup of tea.” In other words, you may not like it, but you realize that it still might be good. I say that to note, that not only was this tea good, but it WAS my cup of tea. It was delicious. I am not a tea critic. I am a tea drinker and “delicious” is my best word for the experience. It was gentle, but not overly subtle. It was sweet, but not too sweet. The cream complimented the bold statement of Earl Grey.
Earl Grey is a blended tea in itself. It is complimented by oil that has been extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Grey_tea to learn more about this distinctive, yet common tea.
There was nothing common about Teazer’s blend and nothing common about the moment of relaxation and warmth I experienced on a cold day.
Teazer World Tea Market in the Tower, has private sitting areas and areas arranged for people to gather and talk and build community. It took very little time after the rain subsided for folks to come and take advantage of those places.
I think I paid about $5.00 for the pot of tea. I did not consider that too much for the experience. There are less and more expensive items on the menu.
They boast seasonal blends on their website and Facebook page. They state that they offer over 200 different kinds of loose teas and that they insist in flavoring their drinks with only the finest all natural ingredients. They also promote the health benefits of these natural ingredients.
There are three locations now in Fresno: The Tower, downtown at the Galleria Civic Center, and at Riverpark. It all began in the Tower District. They were written up in the May 2009 issue of Sunset Magazine.
For Teazer World Tea Market, it is about “tea culture.”
What is tea culture? I drink a pot of tea every morning before switching to coffee. I am no connoisseur, but I know what I like. I blend several flavors most of the time including a fruit tea and some green tea. I might also add some dried fruits to the bottom of the cup and almost always include honey. Teazer makes me want to explore more about this concept of a tea culture. For the most part, I drink tea alone.
Reading the comments on the web, newspapers, and on Facebook, the culture is about atmosphere, attitude, ambience, and attention to detail. The last comes first because the others are built upon the quality of the product and the intensity of the flavor of the unifying theme: tea!
It is about the tea and from there you build an ambient atmosphere that needs no welcome sign because the welcome is everywhere. Then comes the attitude of delicate grace and friendly acceptance. That is what I found at Teazer World Tea Market, a refuge from the cold and a welcome to my soul.
I suppose that the tea culture is more caught than taught and just has to be experienced to be described. However, there are details and observations that can be read and digested at http://teazerworldteamarket.com/tea_talk.
Apparently, there is much to say about tea, many subtleties, refinements, and nuances that make tea a topic for exploring and experiencing.
For now, I will keep it simple. If I am strolling through the Tower with a “hankering” for a cup of tea, Teazer is “my cup of tea.”