Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wegman's Tea Bar

If you've never stepped foot inside a Wegmans, it's hard to imagine someone being obsessive over a large supermarket chain.  But if you have ever been inside, you will instantly understand.  Everything is well organized, super clean, and the staff is beyond friendly.  I went to college in upstate NY, and much of my husband's family lives in Rochester.  So whenever we go back to visit, we make sure to have multiple trips to the Ultimate Grocery Store.  There is one extra-large (and extra-awesome) Wegmans in particular, and at our visit over Thanksgiving weekend I visited their tea bar.  Yes, a grocery store with a tea bar!! It's a dream come true for me.

The tea bar is in the middle of the store, but is designed in such a way that you don't feel like you are sitting in a produce aisle.  It's not easy to find, but when you enter the little bar area,  you are immediately hit with a selection of loose teas.  A sign encourages you to examine and smell the teas.  There is also a little area for their new, featured teas. After inspecting the selection, M and I sat at the bar and placed an order.

Looking around, the bar doesn't feel particularly relaxing or peaceful. But I suppose this is difficult to achieve when you actually are in the middle of a grocery store. But that's ok, it is still a place to take a nice break from shopping while sipping loose leaf tea.


While waiting for our teas to steep, I noticed a machine that looked like a refrigerator.  It wouldn't make sense to refrigerate the loose teas, and it turned out to be a humidor.  I was impressed that a grocery store would pay so much attention to their teas that they'd have a humidor for the particularly delicate green teas.  They have respect for their tea!
The tea 'bartender' used timers to steep our teas.  M commented that he didn't mind this, but he'd prefer it if we were allowed to override the timer and steep as much as we'd like. He prefers teas on the slightly bitter side, resulting in a longer steep.  It would be great if more places asked how you liked your tea before they steeped it for you.  Just because it's the right way, doesn't mean it's the way the customer prefers it.

my silver tips

My silver tips white tea was smooth and slightly nutty.  But after my white tea experience at Radiance, I was a little disappointed.  It was refreshing, but the tea was much weaker than the white peony I had there. This could just be the usual flavor profile for the tea.  It did not have the depth  I was expecting. It was very light and a bit floral, without much else in the background.  As I've mentioned, I don't have much experience with white tea. I will have to try a silver tips somewhere else, to see how it compares.

I suppose that if my neighborhood grocery had a tea bar, I would never get my shopping done on time. My tea budget would also be much higher.  But, it's great that we can visit occasionally, and enjoy a respite from shopping in the Best Grocery Store Ever.

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