Like Fine Wine

Gabrielle Jammal
Former Tea Sommelier | Baccarat Hotel, New York

Ask someone how they take their coffee and you will hear a wide variety of responses – "espresso only," "dry, light foam" or "hand-ground, third-wave beans are a must!" Try asking again with wine and you may hear – “a floral bouquet," "bold and fruit-forward" or "dry, but not tannic." Most people do not think twice about their seven dollars-a-day latte habits, or wine menus that regularly serve upwards of 20 dollars for a single glass.

Now, ask the same question about how they prefer their tea. "Black or green?" or "with sugar or milk?" For many of us, it stops there. And for many, it may also feel mind-boggling to spend more than a few dollars for a nice cuppa – a far cry from how so many nations around the world see and revere the beauty, richness and complexity of tea. So, what is the difference when it comes to American culture in regards to coffee and wine versus tea? Maybe the appeal has been the perceived novelty of the whole thing, the little moments of unapologetic luxury that we steal for ourselves in our day to day. The small boost to our own sense of self when we know and share this industry knowledge.

Well, a fine tea is much like a fine wine, a journey in every sip. And much like a fine wine, a Brook37 tea exudes its fine qualities, from its sourcing, production and exceptional taste.

Not convinced? One way to think about it is by considering supermarket tea bags alongside the tried-and-true boxed wines, or even instant coffee beans. The flavor is consistent and you know what to expect for the price you are paying, yet you also know it is not the best of the best out there. In the grand scheme of things, it is a boxed Franzia versus a Nebbiolo wine. It is the Lipton at the supermarket to the Brook37 artisan blends.

With wine or coffee, the more you sip it the more your taste buds develop to the nuances and complexities in your cup; do you like gentler, crisp notes? Do you love a dark, rich roast? Maybe you find over time that your heart lies with dry and bold flavors, or maybe all you crave at the end of a long day is a taste of something sweet and aromatic. Tea shares these nuances just the same, with so many rich flavors, styles and traditions to consider when purchasing your favorite blends. Whichever it may be, wine connoisseurs, coffee addicts and tea enthusiasts alike recognize the complexities that go hand-in-hand with their favorite bevs.

Speaking of nuances, the more you get into wine and discover which tasting notes spark your uninhibited excitement, the more you might find yourself searching for specific grapes, regions and vineyards. The same goes with tea, the flavors and boldness of which rely on everything from the gardens they are sourced from to the passion of the folks bringing the teas to your midday break. Such are the values held tight and dear at Brook37.

Looking for something complex and perfect for a special night in (with no hangover the next day)? Brook37’s Celebratory Moonlight tea is handpicked on a full moon night, and never sees the sunlight after plucking. It is a process like no other. These velvety specialty Oolong leaves, along with thick silvery buds of sweet flowery aromatic fragrance, make it a perfect tea for a special celebration. You definitely will not be able to find such a carefully crafted and unique tea just anywhere!

There is more to the novelty of tea than tasting notes, however. We are better understanding, or perhaps acknowledging head on, the impact of what we purchase on the environment, the communities, the workers and more, making us more conscious of what we purchase. We are witnessing a shift toward artisan made products.

Just as we are learning more about how our purchases affect the environment and society around us, values such as fair trade, organic ingredients and small batch rise in importance. Traditionally, the teas that we are accustomed to drinking derive from large plantations run by mass production and poor treatment of workers, who are generally underpaid and overworked. At Brook37, the teas are handpicked with care from small gardens and never touched by middlemen. Even more, Brook37 employs an all-female packaging team paid more than fair wages, separating the process from the popular name brands we usually see in stores.

So like a fine wine, carefully and delicately crafted, Brook37 teas are a novelty experience, from the handpicked leaves to the intimate production process. It is a story you will taste with every sip, and a journey unlike regular teas. We are excited to rewrite the ritual of tea together, and invite you alongside our bold adventure.

I can vouch for the high quality of Brook37 Darjeeling teas. It was really a pleasure to experience the teas.

Aditi D

Darjeeling First Flush

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