A Garden Full Of Custom-blended Teas
Wednesday - December 08, 2010
Lynette Jee did something most of us only dream about: She gave up a successful career and went off in search of a dream. As a civil rights attorney, Jee saw plenty of conflict between people, and she turned to tea at times for comfort.
“I used to drink tea to relax, to keep me calm and to take time to sit and enjoy with my girlfriends,” she says. “Then I got to thinking that life is short, and I wanted to develop my interest into a business.”
Six years later, it seems like she made the right decision. Her company, The Pacific Place Tea Garden, is thriving, and her blending and marketing skills just keep on improving.
From humble beginnings with a handful of well-known blends, Jee now sells more than 60 custom-blended teas, many of them unique to Hawaii.
“We have a lot of fun helping find the right tea for people,” she says.
It doesn’t take more than a sip or two of Darjeeling or Assam to realize that Jee is offering the highest-quality tea. Soon after she began, Halekulani, Kahala Resort and Sheraton all became clients, serving custom blends at their spas and afternoon tea service.
You’ll find the Pacific Place Tea Garden on the third floor of Ala Moana Center, right above Centerstage.
Open daily, the casual, outdoor café-style spot offers a vast selection of teas both hot and cold in a variety of styles - all of them tasty and many of them extremely good for your health.
“The health benefits of tea have long been known,” says Jee. And while she’s understandably unwilling to make proclamations, she will say that people who drink green tea every day do claim it curbs their appetite. “And in regions in Japan where tea is grown, many people live to be over 100 years old,” she says.
Don’t worry if you haven’t fully developed a palate for tea. Jee has some wonderful teasans - blends of fruits and herbs that make a refreshing alternative to soda or dreadfully dull iced tea.
“We do all the blending here,” says Jee, “and we try to concentrate on flavors that are unique to Hawaii.”
Teasans are made using tea with a longer leaf cut that gives more flavor. Look for hibiscus, lychee and mango for some delightfully soothing, thirst-quenching treats.
Just in time for the holidays, Jee has a wonderful array of tea gifts priced at around $10. They’re perfect stocking-stuffers for the foodies in your life - and even better if you’ve been assigned the job of finding dozens of gifts for girlfriends or colleagues. Tea bags, filters, leaves and strainers are all beautifully packaged and make great - and interesting - gifts.
With dozens of blends to choose from and a world of tea at her fingertips, I’m curious as to Jee’s all-time favorite tea. Turns out we share a passion for Irish Breakfast - a blend of five black teas from India. I’m happy to tell you she serves the perfect cup.
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