The Rise of Tea in Savannah

With the new wave popularity of teas on the rise, places that cater to this trend have started popping up throughout the US, and savannah is not an exception.

Now, tea has always been a common standard of southern hospitality. You just have to go and watch any generic representation of a southern home on TV or a movie to know that they will offer you iced tea even before you come into their homes. But, even if it is a blatant stereotype, it is true that any establishment that wishes to sell food will offer sweet or unsweetened tea as part of their drinks menu. But, like in the movies, many consider this a drink only “old folks” can honestly enjoy.

How It Started

It is no surprise to anyone that a trend of healthier living has taken the nation by storm. This includes exercising and living a greener life, but also consuming healthier foods for our bodies to feel their best. Queue the fact that tea is great for releasing toxins and relieving stress, and everyone wants in on it. So now a younger demographic has put their attention on teas and where they come from and how they are made and how they can be used. And this new focus on tea has changed the industry drastically.

As Nigel Melican, Managing Director of Teacraft Ltd & Executive Director of Nothing But Tea Ltd, describes it in Tony Gebely’s “Tea Tastes in 2017: A Forecast” published by, tea production in eastern countries couldn’t keep up with the demands on green tea alone, which meant countries like Colombia, Australia and even the state of Hawaii started their own quality green tea productions. Even still, smaller tea gardens have popped up in the United States, growing organically and selling to local shops.

How It Has Manifested in Savannah

Here in Savannah, this new trend has only recently become more popular. Places like The Savannah Tea Room and The Collins Quarter offer an array of teas to suit any palate. And even places like The Spice & Tea Exchange store have a place in Savannah, to introduce new ways of incorporating teas into our lives.

This nation-wide chain opened in Savannah a little under a year ago, and has never gained more costumers as time goes by. When asked about how they tailored their store to fit the people from Savannah, Sandy Finkle and her husband tell me proudly that the products are the same in most chains, but everything in the middle of the store and the way they sell the products is their doing. “I don’t want our customers to feel like they have to buy a specific amount of product, so however much they want, that’s how much we will sell them”, tells me Andy while he weighs some herbal tea for a customer. Everything in the store, from teas, to spices, to herbs, and even flavored sugars, can be bought by however much the customer needs. You can see the Finkles weighing and bagging the products as per the customers needs.

And Sandy has even made it easy for new customers and old to try out recipes for their products without having to buy a lot of stuff that might not be used again. “I make the recipes and print them, and people can just buy the little package with everything they need to try the recipes once. If it works for them they can come back for more. If not, it’s fine, and they don’t end up with a ton of extra product that they can’t use”, says Sandy. She has everything from cookies to chilies, and even a few recipes for tea cocktails. This last one I tried myself, and I can say that champagne and tea have never tasted this good.

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Shots from “The Spice & Tea Exchange” store in Broughton St.


The “Art” of Tea Cocktails

First of all, nothing about whatever it was we made for this post could be considered art. Hence the quotations. But we did something, and it involves alcohol and tea. So we’ll call it a cocktail.

A friend of mine asked me to help her with a video she was making. She was gonna get drunk and use tea in the process, so she figured it would be cool to have me in it. I am, after all, a tea expert.

Looking back, she probably wanted someone else to get drunk with her so it wouldn’t be so awkward, and we could share the shame between us. At the time though, I was blinded by the promise of booze and tea before noon. So I agreed and we decided on a date.

I went to class at 8am like always and then, after a brief stop at my favorite liquor store ever (Johnnie Ganem), headed for Shekhinah’s apartment. I know, not your every-day name. But, come on guys. It’s like 2015 or something, get with it. She had told me we were dirking gin and she was providing it, but I still brought a bottle of vodka just in case. What can I say, I was raised right.

We didn’t drink the vodka that day, but it didn’t go to waste. We used ginger tea, which we steeped for about 15 minutes with some lavender thrown in there just because. Add some lime juice and several ounces of gin and you’ve got a pretty good cocktail, all things considered.

We definitely did not do any proper cocktailing for this, and just poured stuff on fancy glasses to feel like we knew what we were doing. But it worked. And it was filmed. And – I regret this already – I’ll let you watch it.


P.S. Go check her blog too!

Actually Using the Stuff I Bought

It took me about a week before I actually used my new tea products. You might be a bit surprised, but, then again, you don’t know me. Those who do, on the other hand, are pleasantly surprised it only took a week. But you are not here to hear (read?) me talk about my flakiness. Actually, I have no idea what you came here for, but I’m gonna put a limb out there and say that, because of the title of this blog post, maybe not about my flakiness?

Whatever. Id doesn’t matter either way. But I did get to use my steeper (I think that sounds more like it could be name of this thing – still, don’t quote me on it), and so I’ll tell you about it.


Ok, here we go.

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but spring is pretty much upon us.


And, like everything else in Savannah, the weather can’t seem to commit. I’m not really sure myself what that sentence means either, but it makes me sound sassy as fuck – and I like it. What I don’t like is the fact that one day it’s freezing, and the next it’s positively toasty. Worse still: I’ll go out to class at 8am wearing a jacket while freezing my nose, to holding it for the rest of the day because I’m sweating like a pig.

So it should come to no surprise (specially to me) that I always get sick during this time of the year. Queue my teacher giving me a tea that says “Achoooooooooo” on the front, and I have no excuse but to try my new steeping pot (is it still a teapot if it’s plastic and looks like a jug more than a pot?).


And I have to say I love this thing. It’s easy to use, it takes virtually the same time it would take to use a tea bag, but you get to decide how much tea you put in it, and even reuse the leaves if you want to have some more!

The tea helped too, and I’m feeling a lot better now.

Can’t wait to try the others!

Going Loose

I have never actually made tea from scratch. Ok, yes. I have boiled water before and I’m know to enjoy the occasional lime wedge on my tea, but i have always used tea bags. Some nice tea bags and some definitely less nice ones too, but always tea bags. I have indeed had loose tea before (I even had to stop and think what the proper word for it was – shame on me), and I have to say that it usually tastes better than most tea bags. So i decided to commit to this idea of brewing my own tea from the leaves themselves.

I decided to do a ridiculous amount of research – I went to a tea shop and asked around.


The nice lady recommended a beginner’s set that included 4 different loose teas, a measuring spoon to scoop said tea with, a very fancy looking jug to steep said tea in, a little booklet that lets you know exactly how to use said jug to steep said tea, and a few other indispensables for anyone thinking about drinking tea. All of this for the modest sum upwards of $80, which is perfect because, as a student, I have too much money and nothing to spend it on.

Unfortunately, the jug didn’t come in black, so i decided to buy a cheaper steeping jug (I’m guessing this is what you would call this, but I wouldn’t quote me on that if I were you) for about $20. My professor provided the loose tea, so I didn’t have to buy any. My wallet was thrilled by this, and decided to celebrate by buying a fancy measuring spoon. No real reason, I just thought it was pretty as fuck.


And so I am ready to finally brew my own tea! I’m tired though, so I can’t be bothered right now.

Maybe next time.

Mango Tease

Brunch is a fad that I have only recently adopted. Due to the fact that I’m definitely not a morning person – never was, never will be – I have never been fond of breakfast. Breakfast food, on the other hand, I’m a fan of. Really, any type of food. And brunch just seems like the perfect excuse to wake up not to early and pig out before lunch without being judged. And nice brunch places usually have very nice tea.


And so I took my boyfriend to The Collins Quarter. They describe themselves as an Aussie-style café, bar and restaurant, so I thought my boyfriend would enjoy some comfort food (If you don’t know he is Australian, then you haven’t been keeping up with my blog, people).

So we get to this beautiful place, and he immediately goes for the Aussie Breakie. Shocker. Doesn’t even browse the menu. I ordered whatever had the most stuff in it. Shocker. And to wash all the food down we chose to share some tea. Mango tea, to be more precise.

I love fruit. And that has nothing to do with me being gay. I don’t think. Of course not. Probably not. Right? Who knows, really. But that’s not the point. The point is I have always loved fruit, and, growing up in Colombia, fruit has always been a part of my life. It’s comforting and sweet and bitter and delicious. Ok, maybe it has something to do with me being gay. But fruit is something that reminds me of home. And, to me, mango translates to beach. And by translate , I mean that it reminds me of it, people. Focus.


Back home, there’s no better place to eat mango with salt and pepper, at the beach. Vendors will pass by, shouting their wares, and offer you from the whitest tart mango to the sweetest amber ones. If you haven’t guessed by now, I go for the former. And this is what I was thinking of while I drank my tea.


Sweet, fruity, aromatic.

So gay.

Food (read Booze) & Music Fest

This past weekend I went to Miami, Florida, to visit some family. I had to pick up my car at their place and drive it back to Savannah, which is an experience I enjoy dearly. Whenever I arrive in the States I look forward to spending eight hours by myself on a car while trying not to fall asleep so that I can enjoy the sights. And, oh, the sights!


At least I had my boyfriend to distract me. Somewhat. So, once there, I decided to make the most of the trip. It so happens that the F+M Festival was taking place, and so we bought ourselves tickets and tagged along with my cousin and his friends. And by tagged along I mean we went by ourselves and found my cousin a few hours later. We had a blast. There was amazing music, nice food (again, read booze) and, weirdly, a hot tea stand. Heaven.

You must be thinking: No fucking way did he start drinking tea in the middle of a music festival. And, of course, you would be dead wrong. I am nothing if not ridiculously stubborn. My boyfriend though it was hilarious. He was also very drunk, so anything would’ve seemed hilarious to him.

See the picture below as proof.


And so I had my Twining’s Pomegranate & Raspberry Herbal Tea while rocking to Hot Chip’s hits. Never thought I would write a sentence that looked even close to that. But, here we are. And there I was. And, I have to say, it was delightful.

Then again, I was also drunk as fuck, so anything would have seemed delightful. I guess we’ll never know. Cause I couldn’t be bothered.



Hello Tea Bag Enthusiasts


Today I decided I was gonna give green tea a try, and Foxy Loxy Cafe seems as good a place as any to do so. I’ve had it just once before (a week ago, in fact) but I don’t think it really counts. For starters, I was so fucking sick I couldn’t taste a thing.

The best I could do was a nondescript teabag with a “Green Tea” sticker stuck to the front. And to make things better, I used barely warm tap water to get it in me. Definitely not ideal, but it did it’s job, and I was able to enjoy the rest of my time at Universal Orlando.

I say enjoy. More like endure, really. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the parks, but mid January is definitely not the best time of the year for it. Between the rain, the slew of rides closed for maintenance,and my Australian boyfriend’s stomach shooting back everything we threw at it, the trip wasn’t necessarily what I had planned for us. I have to give it to Universal though. There really is no place like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


I can act cool about it, and will never wear a wizard robe or wand in polite company. But check my closet and you’ll find a Ravenclaw sweater that goes with everything and an ever growing collection of wands (four at the moment). I love this shit. And The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is the perfect place for me to geek out without anything holding me back.

This also happened to be my boyfriend’s first time in America, so I went all out and gave him the complete tour. Of the park. He can see the rest anytime he likes.


All in all I think it was worth the four hour drive. And this tea isn’t too bad either. A bit sweeter than other teas, not as bitter. Nice.