There’s something intimidating about tea. It sounds really stuffy, like you need to make a bunch of finger sandwiches and crumpets and hang out with the Queen.
But I had a tea experience that blew my mind today.
I met David and Lily Duckler, the 26-year-old owners of verdant tea in Minneapolis. They shared a “tea ceremony” with me. I know – sounds formal but it was really fascinating. David talked for 20 minutes straight about the farmers who grew the tea he was sharing with me (and it was interesting the entire time!). We tried two teas that were from the same leaves but were processed differently and tasted like they were from two ends of the tea spectrum.
I admit: I’m a moron when it comes to tea, but I have a fairly developed palate (thanks to years of cocktail and wine and beer and coffee tasting), and tasting the different notes in tea was really incredible.
Tea is about hospitality: it’s what you offer someone when they come into your home. And that’s what they’re doing at verdant, in the old Seward Coop on East Franklin Avenue.
I tried three of their homemade kombucha recipes (think a soda, only less carbonated, less syrupy sweet, more showing the flavor of the tea) – and they were awesome.
Plus I had a chai tea that was possibly the best chai I’ve ever had – and I love chai. They use 21 (at least) different herbs, including goji berry, holy basil, saffron and whole vanilla bean. The tea we tasted had Bees Knees Honey, and you could taste it. Just spectacular.
You can buy the kombucha in growlers ($4.50 L bottle) and the chai in concentrate ($10, $8 refill). I need that chai. Soon.
As much as I love the story of the farmers and the tea, I also love the story of the Minnesota guy who went to college in New York, met a girl, dragged her to China, fell in love with each other, and with tea, and brought that love back to Minnesota to share with all of us.
Go visit their tea room, and make sure to tune into WCCO-TV Saturday at 8am to learn more about them in my DeRusha Eats segment!
2111 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55404
Sunday-Thursday 8am-8pm, Sat-Sunday 8am-11pm