Long Live the Queen!

Posted on June 05, 2012 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

You can wager on the Chambre de Sucre staff leading interesting lives.

One of us is in England, sipping her way through the Jubilee celebrations. We're not too jealous, because she’s bringing us Fortnum and Mason chocolate squares. These days, the cinnamon squares are vanishing the fastest, but we admit to liking the orange, peppermint, coffee, and ginger squares, too. It’s Fortnum and Mason chocolate. It’s dark. It’s good.

Of course, she’s also bringing us the Jubilee Tea Box. Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Box, celebrating her sixty years on the throne – That’s a once-in-a-lifetime package.

When and wherever any of us travels, tea makes the journey home.

Our Executive Director, Lisa Kunizaki, may need to buy luggage for her tea. Lisa’s in Las Vegas. No, she isn’t piling pyramids on the roulette table. She’s attending the World Tea Expo.

After the intensive tea-training she’s undergone, the Expo is as much reunion as it is exploration. There’s plenty to discover – and desire. We’re excited about some of the

New Product Award Winners.

Indie Tea’s Magic Mushroom Spice Rub tied with Swirl Green Tea, becoming one of two winners of Tea as an Ingredient.

We’re an assorted lot at Chambre de Sucre, but each of us has used tea in the kitchen. (If you haven’t cooked with tea, Lapsang-smoked chicken is a great place to start.) Magic Mushroom Spice Rub takes a few of our favorite things – Yerba Maté, porcini mushroom infused sea salt, garlic,cumin, and fennel --- and nestles them in a mix of other herbs and spices.There are no fake ingredients or chemicals, and all of the rubs are MSG-free.That’s the way we like it.

Last week, we told you about cold-steeping; this week, the Slim Steeper Cold Brew Tea Infuser won an Innovation Award. Easy and eco-friendly, it’s made by The Tea Spot, whose Steep and Chill is a cold-brewing refrigerator classic. The Slim Steeper works with any water bottle (even disposable ones) and it lets you cold-steep tea in 10 minutes. Follow Asian tradition and re-steep the leaves. You’ll notice subtle changes in flavor with every brew.

While you’re visiting The Tea Spot, spend some time browsing through Steepware, which is filled with nifty gifts for tea-lovers. (How cute are those bright chubby Tuffy Tea Steepers?)

We can’t get enough of 1660 London’s tea-tasting cups, winners of the Tea Ware Award.

With Lisa’s new tea blends begging to be tasted, we’re hoping she’ll come home with an array of 1660 London’s cups. We should taste her teas with the finest professional-level cups – only the best for the best.
We wouldn’t tell you about luxuries you couldn’t use. Although the 1660 London’s cups are fit for pros, their clean lines and simple elegance would make them an asset in any home.

The Expo’s not all about getting the goods or catching up with friends and admired colleagues. There’s an educational aspect, and it can be dizzying.

We learned about sustainable sourcing, Zen tea cultures, and artisan teas. We increased our tea vocabulary,and investigated the influence of cup-shapes on flavor. Renowned author and tea expert Jane Pettigrew taught workshop participants which shape of cup best suits green, black, and fragrant teas –another excuse for shopping! Jane Pettigrew also joined Professor Kanzo Sakata of Kyoto University in leading a Pu-erh tasting; of course, we attended that.We also traveled – without leaving Vegas.

The World Origin Tasting Tour was a phenomenal trip. It took in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nepal, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The Japanese stop made Lisa wistful, but all of the countries were fascinating. We tasted teas, explored each land’s tea culture, and learned about traditions and manufacturing processes.

It was an expansive journey. Just like chocolate, wine, and coffee, tea is a product of terroir. You can taste a climate in a cup.

H’mmm . . . Maybe we could persuade Lisa to produce an international tea-tasting: a small project to tackle in her free time. Then she could pair sugars and teas . . .


There’s good news in our shop: Cup-huggers are in stock. The upswept angel wings and cuddly Neko have new companions – elephants.  These little sweeties fly out of our stockrooms. If you’ve been thinking about adopting some of our huggers, now’s the time.

Fathers Day is coming and we’re thinking in masculine hues: oaken shades, warm ambers, rich earthen tones. We plan to sweeten Dad’s day, and we’re doing it all in browns.


Photo credit: Seánan Forbes


For aficionados of sweets, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate merits a trip to Chicago. For Father"s Day, we’ll follow James Beard Award-winner Mindy Segal’s recipe for Milk Chocolate and Milk Stout Cupcakes.

We’ll pair the cupcakes with Temple Coffee’s Fazenda Brejoes, an earthy Brazilian coffee with flavor notes of chocolate, roasted almonds, and fresh-cut citrus peel. Those flavor notes willset off the pastries nicely.

Matching Mindy’s earth-tonedc upcakes, we’re breaking out The Coffee Lover, a smart set that features brown Sucre Pierre, Amber Sugar, and (unique to this package) miniature coffee-bean-shaped sugars in brown and white.

As to our big Fathers Day presents,those have to stay a secret. We’re all grown up now, but our fathers still read our blogs.

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