Tea of the Week: TeaGschwendner’s Asian Pear

From apples to pumpkins and now to pears! It’s been a busy fruit-filled week here at Thirsty for Tea. There are certain fruits that mark the beginning of fall, and Asian pears are one of my favorites. Crisp, juicy, and not-too-sweet, Asian pears have finally met their tea-steeped match in TeaGschwendner’s divine Asian Pear blend.

TeaGschwendner is a flavored green tea bursting with fresh pear flavor and aroma. It’s easy to associate the term “flavored” with a tea that’s strong in tastes that aren’t natural, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to this blend. The flavor of pear in this tea is subtle and mild, as if you had juiced a pear and infused some of its syrupy goodness in each sip.

TeaGschwendner’s Asian Pear blend reminds me of freshly fallen leaves mixed together with ripe, juicy pears…a heavenly combination that’s mellow and comforting. This is a luxurious treat for any green tea lover–an award-winning tea from the 2012 North American Tea Championship that’s delicate yet full of fruity flavor. Each sip is a reminder of autumn’s most beautiful flavors.

Tasting Notes for TeaGschwendner’s Asian Pear:

BREWING TIPS:  190 degrees F for 1-2 minutes. Most enjoyable and flavorful on the first brew.

THE BLEND:  A mix of Indian, Japanese, and Ceylon green teas with orange blossoms and Asian pear bits scattered throughout. Medium to large green tea leaves with some thin stems.

THE SCENT:  Like a soft perfume with notes of honey and vanilla. Slightly citrusy from the orange blossoms.

THE STEEP:  A fresh, mild green tea that’s very slightly astringent. Warm and fruity with a gentle yet distinctive pear essence. A kiss of honey-like sweetness without any sugar or artificial flavorings.

GET IT:  At the TeaGschwendner site or at one of TeaGschwendner’s stores in Chicago or abroad.

FOOD PAIRING:  Very satisfying when paired with some fresh, juicy slices of Asian pear or Pumpkin & Green Tea Dango (without the black sesame sauce). Would also be delicious with some hot out of the oven Crisp Apple Strudel or Apple Pie Buns.

TeaGschwendner in Chicago

If you’re in Chicago and find yourself in need of a break after shopping on Michigan Avenue, take a brisk walk north and you’ll find TeaGschwendner, an artisan tea company based out of Germany. Here in the US, we’re lucky enough to have 2 TeaGschwendner shops both located in the Chicago area, but in Germany there are over 130 TeaGschwendner stores, and even few more scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East.

If you think you might get lost on the way over to the store, check out this clip by TeaGschwendner where you can figure out how to pronounce TeaGschwendner, just in case you need to ask for directions. Not only will you get a glimpse of Thomas Holz, the Master Tea Taster at TeaGschwendner, but the clip should also give you a new appreciation for tea selection, steeping, and of course, slurping!

Entering TeaGschwender is like entering a bank vault packed with fragrant tea-filled aluminum safe deposit boxes. Instead of finding money, gold watches, or a string of pearls inside each box, you’ll find some of the world’s most exclusive teas…drinkable treasures waiting to be discovered and revealed.

Despite TeaGschwendner’s exceptional reputation among seasoned tea drinkers, the staff are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, not the least bit pretentious. On the day I visited, Ryan, the store manager, provided outstanding insight into the company’s teas and lead me to just the right blends to please both my palette and my pocketbook.

If you are a seasoned connoisseur of Indian and Chinese teas, the shop has a very impressive stock of teas from Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, and beyond. For aspiring connoisseurs like myself, there are some more modest blends to choose from, including Almond Milk (one of their new honeybush blends), Bamboo Pomelo (an award-winning herbal blend at the North American Tea Expo in 2013), and Asian Pear (a mild green tea with a soft pear essence…my favorite!).

If you need some more help choosing a blend, don’t hesitate to ask for a taste! Below is my “slice” of the Carrot Cake blenda tangy, spicy brew with large chunks of carrots, oranges, and raisins studded throughout.

The Black Oothu and Green Manjolai are teas grown in South India, in tea gardens located in the middle of a Bengal Tiger Reserve. These teas are the result of the company’s partnership with the Nature Conservation League of Germany, and part of the proceeds that come from these teas go towards helping endangered Royal Bengal Tigers in South India.

The shop on State Street isn’t that large, but it does hold a wide selection of tea wares from all around the world. I especially love TeaGschwendner’s signature teacups, which are very wide and shallow. It’s the type of teacup that takes an extra bit of finesse to drink out of, reminding you to slow down, savor, and take a break.

TeaGschwendner carries a few brands of rare gourmet chocolates, including these handsome bars from Mast Brothers, based out of New York. The only thing better than drinking tea is drinking tea with a complex piece of chocolate, and what a feast for the eyes these bars are!

Here’s a look at some of the colorful Moroccan teacups I found next to Japanese cast iron teapot displays at the store. Stay tuned…you’ll be seeing the blue cups reappear in one of my upcoming posts soon!

Part of the charm of this shop is that it allows you to travel the world through a cup of tea. If you are lucky enough to visit one of their shops here in the US or elsewhere abroad, TeaGschwendner’s excellent customer service and attention to detail are sure to leave you with a renewed appreciation for world-class teas.

TeaGschwendner 

1160 North State Street

Chicago, Illinois 60610

312.932.0639