Matcha Experiments Pt.1


It started with tea-mocktails, ended up with matcha. With the recent launch of our own in-house organic ceremonial grade matcha, it opened the doors to experiment with the super tea. In another attempt to expand what tea can do beyond the cup and what we can steep up at the tea bar, we thought we would start experimenting with what a matcha based line of creative sips could look like. 

It started pure and simple, with matcha shots. Think ginger shots; knocking back an extreme kick of health. With matcha shots, you get a concentrated version of the super tea, meaning that all of the anti-inflammatory antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and crash free caffeine, are that much more potent! What a better way to start your morning or power through a meeting or just work at the tea bar than with a kick of feel matcha feels goods?

We were hitting a wall with the matcha shots (or maybe at that point were far too caffeinated to continue taste testing the tea straight up), so we decided to take a break and think of what else could be on the matcha menu (preferably something on the more sippable side as opposed to shooters)!

It was in that “tea-high” moment that the Vietnamese Iced Matcha was born. The sweeter sister of the Matcha Latte and the earthier version of a Vietnamese Iced Coffee, it consists of rich and grassy matcha, topped with organic smooth and decadent condensed milk. It has a creamy mouthfeel. The kind that coats your entire tongue and lingers long after each taste, and when poured over ice, it all balances out becoming an equally refreshing sip. If you've never had a Vietnamese Iced Coffee before, it's hard to exactly explain, but if you've had a Matcha Latte before (even with whole milk) think creamier, richer, and uniquely sweeter. 

The nature of all of our experimentations brings some winners and some losers. This matcha mixture definitely opened our eyes to how matcha could reinvent some of our favorite classics just like Vietnamese Iced Coffee. And hey, if future others fail, at least it’s an opportunity to think of more matcha puns.

There’s matcha to learn in the art of experimentation. 

Come by the tea bar and ask our tea geek, Ken, if he's sampling one of these! If not, we have all the instructions and directions you could need to whip up your own, just pick up a bag of Tea People Matcha at the store or online!

1 Tablespoon Tea People Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha
220 ml Water
60 ml Organic Condensed Milk

1. Whisk 1 Tablespoon of Tea People Matcha with 220 ml of hot water (170 degrees) : Add water slowly, first making a thick bright green paste. Then add more while whisking like crazy. Make it frothy!
2.  Fill a 12 oz cup with small cubed ice. 
3. Pour matcha over ice. 
4. Measure out condensed milk  (60 ml) and pour slowly over the top ice. 
5. With a bar spoon, stir vigorously until all is mixed together. The matcha should now be a pale green color! 

The Malibu Mocktail

It could be said that, "The Malibu" was named after the summer sunset in Southern California, with its gold and pink hues. Instead, the real story behind the mocktail, involves singer Anderson .Paak and his song, "Malibu," along with our desire to get back into the "lab."

As of recent, we’ve been feeling like we haven’t been experimenting at the tea bar as much as we used to; those late nights playing around with how tea can be pushed beyond the cup (or in this case, a different kind of cup). It's that different kind of cup that made us start thinking about the trend of mocktails and how we could infuse the tea world into the recently popular non-alcoholic drink scene. 

We’ve played around a bunch before with making tea cocktails, balancing the fusion of alcohol bases and tea concentrates, but tea-mocktails require a unique kind of concocting. Mocktails are non-alcoholic versions of typically alcoholic beverages. There’s an attention to detail in their development. Without having alcohol their flavor profiles require a different kind of backbone to build upon. For tea-mocktails, it’s even more about tea as an ingredient and how every other added one pairs perfectly with the flavors of that specific loose leaf.  Thinking outside the box and just grabbing enticing craft ingredients with the singular goal of highlighting a tea is what really excites us the most about this tea-mocktail trend and menu we are building. Not to mention, building off the taste of one of our very own teas is where the fun really starts!

Just check out Imbibe Magazine, an online and print publication that focuses on liquid culture (so cool)! They have an entire section on their website dedicated to the alcohol-free drink movement. The page is split between ways to virginize and elevate classic cocktails and what's happening in the craft / artisanal coffee and tea world. No matter the angle, the important content is based on the fact that all of the featured drinks use next-level and out of the box ingredients. This new wave of mocktails breaks out of its past that includes drinks like Shirley Temples or Daiquiris; mocktails are now about complexity.

The mocktail's inherent attention to detail and complexity is why we wanted to build a tea-mocktail menu for the tea bar. Premium quality loose leaf has always been viewed as an archaic, unapproachable, and complex sip. Tea People's mission is to demystify that assumption. We want to do the same thing with mocktails as we aim to do for tea. It's not about taking away the complexity of tea or tea-mocktails, it's about making them approachable for everyone. We want our menu to make the concept of a craft sip simple to the everyday drinker. 

The Malibu, is the first craft tea-mocktail we’re launching at the tea bar. The Malibu features our July tea of the month, Coconut Green. This loose leaf has a green tea base and is flavored with real coconut flakes and extract, so on its own it’s naturally sweet and almost creamy in mouthfeel.
Our tea geek Ken Kawachi said in regards to the thought process behind the drink that, 

“The goal was to create a crisp, clean, and refreshing drink with an emphasis on tropical feelings out of Coconut Green tea. After multiple tests, one shaker accident resulting in a ruined shirt and tie, and the will to continue, the Malibu came to life. “

These tropical feelings came in the from of spearmint sprigs and a choice of fresh housemade strawberry or mango puree, all shaken and strained over ice.  The vibrancy of these ingredients both highlight the loose leaf, but also allow for the natural creaminess and refreshingly light aftertaste to shine through. 

For now, as we build out our new tea-mocktail menu at the tea bar, we’re sampling all of our creations! So far we've gotten pretty rave reviews in the drinks ability to highlight the Coconut Green tea from tea connoisseurs and novice tea lovers alike! Come share your tasting notes with one of our tea geeks and see what the tea-mocktail scene is all about.  

Print out this recipe and try it for yourself or swing on by the tea bar (8 Octavia, SF) to taste our first go at a tea-mocktail!

Stay tuned for more mocktails, recipes, and happenings at the tea bar by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on social media. Our behind the scenes are always fun to follow! 


#sourced Taiping Green

Taiping Green is two in one; two leaves pressed into one leaf.  While we were abroad on this year's sourcing trip, we found Taiping Houkui in Yellow Mountain. Each leaf is hand shaped and hand pressed so that two stems and leaves create one tall uniquely shaped loose leaf.  

The leaves can then stand up straight in various types of cup and can be sipped on farmer style. No need for straining! They're beautifully slender and strong in aroma. With notes of warm summer squash like flavors, it can be best described as the ultimate tea to drink on a breezy summer day. 

Think July summer night cookouts; charred vegetables, earthy and woodsy smells, plus long lingering warm notes. Taiping Green's cool factor isn't just because of its shape. We got to visit an entire museum dedicated to the loose leaf; from growing to processing and production, we learned how amazing of a tea this green sip really is. 

#sourced 2017

If you’ve been following our journey, you’ll remember that in the beginning of the year, one of our tea geeks traveled all the way to China to go straight to the source. This trip we focused on finding farmers that were doing their own thing; tea farmers that were in the fields crafting unique loose leafs and carrying out deep personal histories through the art of steeping.

We traveled to three different locations: Suzhou, Yellow Mountain, and Wuyi Mountain, collecting a total of seven special small batch teas. 

En route to taste the new Green Coil, the green tea sister to our popular Black Coil. 

We brought back pounds + pounds of teas and have been steeping and sipping them, figuring out how to share these new loose leafs with you. Finally, we decided that the gems we found on this #sourced trip, should be put into their own Limited Edition line of unique teas that are freshly farm to cup.

We’ve curated a little bit of everything that all have personal stories behind their leaves.  From oolong to herbal, they're all from different cities, different farmers, and different tea fields. These Limited Edition teas are hand grown, hand crafted, hand packaged, and hand labeled, with love, care, and history. Check out the line up and see which sourced small batch teas made the cut from our China trip! 

On Wuyi Mountain, where three different tea cultivars are growing next to each other. Also, the home to the new Big Red Robe and Lapsang Souchong. 

Follow our hashtag #sourced for more about the Limited Edition releases and unique individual stories! 

Foraging Blends with Juniper Ridge

At Tea People, we're always looking for ways to go beyond the cup. A few weekends ago, we literally went outside the cup, and joined Juniper Ridge at Camp Navarro in the Redwoods of California. 

The weekend was dedicated to the Winter Harvesting of Redwood. Guided by, Hall Newbegin, the CEO, we hiked through the forest, learning how to identify the nature around While removing invasive species on the mountain, harvesting other plants, and foraging for other herbs (and mushrooms), we were simultaneously gathering ingredients that we later distilled into a Winter Redwood fragrance for Juniper Ridge. 

Juniper Ridge products are 100% wildcrafted and produced using old perfume making techniques including distillation, tincturing, infusion and enfleurage. A hundred years ago, all perfumes were made this way. Today, they're the only ones who handle every step of the process themselves, from beginning to end. These formulas vary from year to year and harvest to harvest, based on rainfall, temperature, exact harvesting location, and season. They formulate Wilderness Perfume by distilling and extracting fragrance from wildflowers, plants, bark, moss, mushrooms, and tree trimmings that we harvest on the trail.

We got to play a role in this amazing process, from start to finish. Rolling around in the wet earth, smelling the fir trees, meandering around with our guide books; we discovered how many amazing ingredients we're surrounded by. It got us thinking about how we could borrow these techniques and create some new blends for Tea People. 

Some of the things that we foraged besides Redwood included: Douglas Fir, Yerba Buena, Lemon Verbena, and tables worth of wild mushrooms. That night, we started adding some of what we harvested to what we were already steeping. Our Chamomile Mint was elevated with the smooth citrus notes of the Lemon Verbena and got an extra minty rush with the flowers of wild Yerba Buena. Everyone filled their mugs while we started a fire, some even used it as a base for hot toddies. We also started pruning all of the leaves off of branches of Douglas Fir and added them to the nutty pan roasted leaves of our Hojicha. The fusion of the two created the perfect outdoor hot steep that tasted particularly festive for this time of year too. 

Next time you're out in the wild, steep some of your favorite Tea People loose leaf with herbs that you forage. Let us know what kind of new blends you can create with the nature around you and keep an eye out for future tea collaborations!

Chamomile Mint
from 5.00

Top Nitro Teas

We played around with some of our best selling loose leafs to see which teas worked best as Nitro Teas. At the Tea Bar, we've been doing blind sampling of kegged teas versus normal steeps. The results are in and we narrowed it down to our top three teas. All of them lost their bitterness and tang, become more smooth and floral, and became creamy tasting sips. 

Earl Grey
from 10.00
Lychee Green Tea
from 15.00

The Effects of Nitro Tea

We've been experimenting a lot with nitro tea lately, but what does that mean?

More or less it means that we've been going full on science experiment with our collection of loose leafs. Technically speaking, it means that we're been adding a different dimension to each tea: a head

Have we already lost you? No worries! We're here to break down each aspect of nitro tea for you; start to mouthfeel finish. 

The head that is created in the process of nitro is responsible for the development in flavor. The flavor of tea is broken down into three different sensations: taste, aroma and mouth feel. All of these are determined by the amount of different chemical compounds in the tea. When adding nitrogen to a tea we are not actually “changing” the flavor of a tea, but rather contributing to it. By nitrogenating a tea, a head of nitrogen gas forms on the top of the tea, contributing to a new creamy mouthfeel to the tea. 

However, in our experiments and tastings with nitro tea, a common response that we get from tasters is that the result in taste is a less bitter tea. We came up with the following hypothesis about why this happens:
While nitrogenating a tea wont change the chemical composition of a tea, the presence of nitrogen bubbles sliding across your taste buds might inhibit their ability to perceive bitterness.  Ultimately, the effervescence tricks your tastebuds into detecting less bitterness. 

We geeked out pretty hard over nitrogen's ability to change our tea tastebuds. Check out our entire Nitro page for even more science and even our own guide on how to DIY your own nitro! 

Nalata Nalata

While recently in NYC, we met up with the owners of Nalata Nalata, "A retail experience founded on promoting the awareness of the people and the stories behind our curated lifestyle products," where we got to shoot some tea photos, check out their physical space, and hear about their #steeplife. 

We spoke with co-founder Angélique J.V. Chmielewski over some Jasmine Green Tea:


How did the initial vision for Nalata Nalata come to fruition?

The initial vision for Nalata Nalata came into fruition because we simply wanted to know who makes the products that we use.

 How do you go about curating what brands the store ends up carrying?

 A lot of the time friends introduce designers and artisans we work with to us and over time we develop relationships with these people that evolve quite naturally.   

Shopping in your store is definitely an experience in and of itself, what are the most important things when creating a retail experience? 

 The most important things to consider when creating a retail experience are a balance of information and inspiration. Increasingly people are more conscious about what they consume so it is our job to inform them of why we like a product so they can come up with their own opinions. At the same time we want people to feel inspired to live better for whatever their lifestyle may be so we give options that we truly believe can motivate this sense. More than anything we hope that guests can walk out of our retail space and feel more mindful of the people, places and things that surround their everyday lives.

You guys spend a lot of time learning the story behind all of the artists you feature, what made you decide that learning the 'backstory' was so vital? 

 We spend a lot of time learning the story behind all of the designers and artisans we work with because nowadays, where things are more readily available, having a connection to the story behind a product is a key factor that adds to its value. The products we carry have stories behind them that we believe in so it’s a joy to share them with others. We’ve always gone after the who, what, where, when and why of a product because if you can answer all those questions, than you can get a better sense of its purpose in the world. Products with purpose have the ability to make the world a better place.

Do you have a favorite backstory that you've highlighted?

Our favorite backstories are usually about family-run businesses. We like to support family-run businesses because no matter how many generations of inheritance the company is on, they seem to never stop striving to not only survive, but also to evolve and get better. The Tajika family who has been making handcrafted scissors and shears for four generations is an example of one of our favorite Backstories.


Speaking of backstories, what are some of the backstories of the Nalata Nalata team?

Our story begins in Canada where my husband and I were born. We grew up there and spent our formative years in Edmonton, which is where we met before moving to New York to pursue our careers in design.  

What's do the tea leave say about the store's future?

This year we have a lot of projects on the go. We’re most excited about our upcoming publication set to launch in 2017.

Tea People x Luv Haus

If you haven't noticed, we've been out of tea ware for awhile. That's because we've been on the hunt for an artist to collaborate with to create the perfect tea drinking vessel, just for you. Berkeley, CA based ceramist Shawn Kam, from LUV HAUS Ceramics, has hand crafted just that; the ultimate tea cupMade by hand for your hand, we've put together three batches of one-of-a-kind soda fired tea tumblers. 

Made by hand for your hand, is not just a saying. After a year prototyping and dialing in the shape; bridging the between user and cup, these cups were made with the tea drinker in mind. Designed to nestle in the palm of your hand, they capture that perfect symphony of warmth radiating from your favorite cup of tea. The lip is molded to be the perfect catch to keep it from slipping from your hand, a great perch to grip when it’s just a little too warm, and keeps you from potentially burning your lip mid sip. Not to mention, they're microwave and dishwasher safe, for extra simplicity. 

Individually packaged, each cup is unique because of the detailed process of soda firing it undergoes. Soda firing is a dynamic and variable firing process wherein liquified soda carbonate is sprayed into the firing kiln at 2,280 F through several ports on each side. The soda spray immediately vaporizes and is swept up in the path of the flame, painting on the ware and creating a glaze. Each firing results in completely organic and unique interaction of the flame and vapor. That means that no tea cup will ever look like yours. 

Well designed, locally produced, and distinctly one of a kind; Tea People x LUV HAUS cups are the answer to your search for the ultimate tea drinking vessel.

Our Own Camellia Sinensis

  Our Camelia Sinensis: Del & Desmond

Our Camelia Sinensis: Del & Desmond

After all of these years of sippin' tea we've had some amazing teas, walked the slopes of tea mountains and tasted the beautiful landscapes of the tea's growing region within the cup. We've met many tea growers and heard the simple yet humble stories of generations of family tea farming traditions. As Tea People, we've always felt like we were one step away from the source. So, finally after all our time steeping tea, we've finally crossed the gap between the farmer and the drinker. From tea farm to table, at our beautiful tea bar space in San Francisco, we have begun to cultivate our own camellia sinensis tea plants.

All tea comes from the camellia sinensis, meaning that our new plant friends are the source of all of our loose leafs. The tea plants (lovingly named Del and Desmond) are adjusting to their new environment in our office and slowly starting to spur new growth. While we are a long way from a full scale tea production, these plants are our first step in the direction of understanding and mastering the art of tea cultivation.  We'll be keeping you updated as our new plant friends grow and will eventually start building guides on how you can grow your own tea at home! 

Favorite Fall Steeps

Fall is officially upon us! In other words, it's prime tea season. That means it's time for roasty + toasty, hot steeps. Just like some teas are better on the rocks, some loose leafs are best freshly brewed still hot. #somelikeithot While all of our teas are great as steamy sips, we've picked our top six favorites to warm up and celebrate autumn with. From the festive and classic spices of our Indian Chai and the toasty + roasty Hojicha, to the robust and earthy Natural Puerh, we've picked out some of the best hot steeps out there. 

Herbal Cocktails: Hibiscus Mint Spritzer

We've been really into seltzer lately and with fall just around the corner, we wanted to concoct an alcoholic spritzer, iced and shaken, to say goodbye to summer. Our newest herbal, Hibiscus Mint, is best iced. It has strong notes of peppermint, a rich body of tart hibiscus flowers, rounded off with real rose hips. It makes a really great base for experimenting with because of all of its bold ingredients. Its flavor stays rich against a variety of other pairings and with a little lemon, sugar, and seltzer, the hand-blended brew only gets better. 

We started by cold brewing the Hibiscus Mint in our small brewpot overnight in the fridge. (Note: steeping it longer makes the mint flavor more prominent. So, adjust accordingly)! Next we muddled lemon with 2 oz of simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. For our simple syrup we used a 1:1 ratio with white sugar. Next, we chose a sake base for our cocktail, adding 2oz of filtered Ozeki sake to our cocktail shaker.

What's left is adding the two strongest ingredients: tea and effervescence. Add 4oz of the tea concentrate to the shaker, top with ice, and shake vigorously. We chose to leave the ice out and strain the cocktail into a fun glass, leaving plenty of room to add your choice of seltzer. Not all seltzers are the same! Some have more fizz, more bubbles, more body; others are more flat and can water down the rest of the drink. Deciding on how much seltzer to add is totally a taste and mouthfeel preference. We started by adding 2oz and adjusting from there!

Sip, enjoy, savor, and repeat. 

Happy sipping! 


Summer is in full swing, so what better way to beat the heat by indulging in some iced tea? You’re undoubtedly familiar with our iced tea, so today we’ll be breaking the mold with a new beverage: The Cascara Fizz.

Cascara is an herbal tea made from the dried cherries of coffee beans and today’s recipe calls for cascara from Verve. Cascara fizz is a delicious alternative order found in certain third­wave cafes with Blue Bottle Coffee and Sightglass Coffee being notable examples.

The standard cascara fizz calls for 8 parts sparkling water and 1 part cascara, but this wouldn’t be Tea People Labs if we didn’t find our own spin on it! This recipe does call for some prep work ahead of time, so add patience to the list of ingredients.

We’re going to start by making the cascara concentrate, which is done by steeping 41 grams of cascara tea in 350 mL of water. Add sweetener to your liking before storing it in your fridge and allowing it to steep for at least 24 hours. This results in a dense and tart concentrate. The natural counterpoint to tartness is sweetness, and we’ve found that our Rose Black Tea is a fantastic partner in this tango of flavor. You’ll want to brew a concentrate of our rose black tea (double the strength of your normal steep). The last thing you’ll need is some sparkling water, and San Pellegrino will do the trick. Now on to the main event! Our cascara fizz will call for 6 parts sparkling water, 1 part cascara, and 1 part tea concentrate. Add some ice cubes and you’re all set.

The result is crisp, refreshing, and reminiscent of Porto wine. For a smoother alternative, you can swap out the Rose Black for our Muscat Oolong. Stay classy, stay thirsty, Tea People fans!

A Modern Day Tea Party

As tea keeps making its moves to becoming a more modern sip, tea parties seem to be becoming more popular as well. When you think tea parties, most people think of crustless cucumber finger sandwiches, milky steeps of earl grey, and sipping out of fine china with a pinky in the air. But what does a modern day tea party look like?

Our friend and fellow tea lover, Anna Wu, an SF based photographer, decided to answer this exact question by throwing her vision of what modern afternoon tea is really like. We were lucky enough to be invited to the party while she photographed the whole thing. 

It turns out that Anna's spin on what a tea party today looks like, was the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, equal parts simple and elegant; everything we're all about. There were hand written invitations, big beautiful flowers and gorgeous tableware, towers of pastries, and of course, steaming cups of tea atop saucers, making it all look like the classic elegant afternoon tea. While we may have all cleaned up more so than usual, putting on our Sunday's best, the whole event was incredibly laid back and casual. There were no pinkies in the air, no strict manners or rules, just laughter and great conversation. 

The one definite unique distinction was that Tea People was asked to lead a tea tasting, sampling some of our favorite unique loose leafs. This modern day tea party was an interactive learning experience as much as it was a sit down with friends. Think wine tasting meets brunch. While guests and friends munched on modern art looking desserts from Craftsman & Wolves, our tea-geek, Benj filled tea cups and led a tasting of four of our teas: Milk OolongWater NymphHibiscus Mint and Black Coil

It was beyond a cool experience to see Anna's vision come to life and have our teas being steeped, shared, and sipped on in such a unique and beautiful setting. Not to mention, it was so exciting to kick back and geek out about tea. We got to talk about the individual teas being served in depth, the steeping process, and even the science behind what tea actually is. We think it's safe to say we converted everyone to the steep life after the event was over! 

Take a look at Anna's personal blog post to see more stunning images and make sure to check out our four featured teas to sip on (modern day tea party approved)!

A very special thanks to: 

Photography: Anna Wu Photography
Planning & Design: Ruby & Rose
Venue: 1544 Events, Oakland, California
Calligraphy: Brown Fox Calligraphy
Floral Design: Hawthorn Flower Studio
Tea Tasting: Tea People
Desserts: Craftsman & Wolves
Hair: Fox & Doll
Makeup: April Foster Artistry
Furniture: West Elm
Tabletop Goods: CB2 / Crate & Barrel
Flatware: Mrs. Peasy

Milk Oolong
from 20.00
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Water Nymph
from 15.00
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Hibiscus Mint
from 5.00
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Black Coil
from 10.00
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All Things Milk Tea (FAQ)

1. Why Milk Tea?
For us, we're always trying to think of new, fun, but simple ways to enjoy tea. Adding milk to our daily steeps just seemed like the easiest way to spice things up (or milk things up?). Turning your tea into milk tea can do a wide array of things for your sip too. You can make a tea-latte, turn your tea into dessert, change the mouthfeel and consistency; you can even make black teas less astringent and bitter. You ask, "Why Milk Tea?" but we're more about saying, "Hey, why not Milk Tea?!"

2. Will it still taste like tea?
Yes! If you check out our milk guide, we've picked out our favorite dairy (and dairy free) options to add to your cup so that the tea flavor won't disappear. Plus, if you make sure to brew your tea as a concentrate, the tea flavor will be sure to shine through even more. 

3. What if I can't drink milk?
Fear not, some of us at Tea People can't drink milk either! Milk tea is for dairy lovers and lactose intolerants alike. We suggest using Califia Farms Almond Milk as your dairy-free alternative. It has all of the body of milk and isn't too nutty either. 

4. Do you sweeten your milk teas?
It's totally a preference thing. We like adding a little bit of brown sugar based syrup to our milk teas, but some brews are so naturally sweet you don't need to add anything to your cup. 

5. Milk or tea first?
Ah! The never-ending debate of the order of liquids. According to George Orwell, "One should pour tea into the cup first... The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round." We say, it's up to you!

6. Should my milk ratios change when I'm making iced tea versus a hot steep?
We add the same amount of milk to our hot steeps as we do our iced teas. 

7. What are some of your favorite milk teas?
Check out our Top Ten Milk Teas, to see the loose leafs we think play best with milk. Some of our staff favorites are: Boba Guys Blend No.1, Jasmine, Hojicha and Rose Black

8. Will my tea curdle if I add milk?! 
Not everything plays well with milk. Adding milk to some herbal blends that have citrus and fruit as their main ingredient isn't a good idea. Take our Hibiscus Mint for example, we suggest you keep milk far away from that steep!

9. What do you suggest I use if I can't buy Straus Family Organic Milk? 
Sadly, Straus isn't sold everywhere! But then again, that's what makes Straus, Straus. One of the reasons we picked Straus was because they were local, #nextlevelquality, and organic. Check out your local grocery store for milks that are from happy cows near where you live. From there, pick the creamiest option possible, like half & half! 

10. What if I'm allergic to dairy and nuts, what milk do you suggest then?
We picked almond milk because it's the closest tasting dairy-alternative out there. From richness and creaminess, it knocks almost everything else out of the ball park! The next creamiest option we found was coconut milk, but soy milk is also an option as well, it will just make a lighter overall milk tea. 



Let's Talk About Milk

Creamy, rich and decadent milk, straight from the udder, squeezed from nuts, pressed from soy, hemp milk, coconut milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, goat milk, sheep milk, whole milk, fat-free milk, 2%, and creamers; the important question is, what is the best milk for milk tea?

Milk is the trickiest ingredient when crafting your cup of milk tea. We've experimented with various types, brands, and flavors, concocting the dreamiest and creamiest cup of milk tea possible, and have narrowed it down to our top two favorite options. 

Our first choice is Straus Family Creamery Half & Half. For those of you who have bodies that can sip on dairy, this is our #1 go-to option. When you're adding milk to your cup of tea, mouthfeel, consistency, and flavor are everything. Straus Half & Half is both decadent on its own, but won't overpower the tea flavor of your steep. Plus, it has an amazingly creamy and rich mouthfeel that adds to the overall body and consistency of your sip. Bay Area natives, Straus is not only your best organic option but it comes from neighboring (happy) cows too! 

If you can't do real dairy milk, straight from the cow, you have a plethora of options. Luckily, we've gone through them all for you and have settled upon Califia Farms Almond Milk Barista Blend. The problem with a lot of milk alternatives is that they aren't creamy enough in comparison to dairy. They can water down your cup or add their own distinct flavor to your tea. Califia Farms is the richest almond milk we could find. It's not too nutty or grainy. It's thick, full-bodied and also, not too sweet. It's pretty much a lactose-intolerant's dream!

So, when making your next cup of milk tea, try Straus or Califia Farms and see how picking the highest quality of milk will really elevate your milk tea to that #nextlevelquality status. 

*We suggest starting out with 60ml or about 2oz of milk to start out with for a 16oz drink. Let your tastebuds do the real decision making! 


Our Top Ten Milk Teas

When we think of loose leafs that play well with milk, we think back to our first experiments in attempting to concoct the ultimate cup of milk tea. We started using Boba Guys Blend No. 1. With three different types of black teas, all hand blended together, it really is our favorite tea to add milk to. But at Tea People, we're huge fans of adding milk to a lot of our teas. For example, we couldn't think of drinking our Lavender Black any other way, and same goes for our timeless Indian Chai! Adding milk to black teas is the most common way to make milk tea, but try adding a splash of dairy to some of our green teas like Lychee Green or Jasmine, and we promise that you're in for a tastebud treat! Check out all of our Top Ten and you won't turn back from adding milk to these steeps. 

Lychee Green Tea
from 15.00
Indian Chai
from 5.00
Earl Grey
from 10.00
Lavender Black
from 5.00
Rose Black Tea
from 10.00
Decaf Black
from 5.00

The Importance of Ice Cube(s)

Ice, Ice baby; it's Iced Tea Season. 

Ice is arguably the most important ingredient in making iced tea. The perfect tall glass of tea consists of: cold brewed Tea People loose leaf (made in the fridge, chilled), poured over the perfect amount of ice. To us, the perfect kind of ice, is just like the perfect steep, it’s up to your own palate, but we do have some fun suggestions for you to try. 

First, there's the decision of what kind of ice to use:

Types of ice matter because of the dilution rate. More traditional ice cubes will dilute a drink faster because more ice equals more surface area through which ice can absorb heat.
More small ice cubes = faster melt rate.
That's why big squares and Japanese round globes of ice are becoming increasingly more popular (also fun, aesthetically pleasing, and cool) to use. 

Ice cubes are a really cool way to experiment with the flavor profiles of your tea. Ice doesn't just cool down or dilute a steep, but it can also be a source of deeper flavor.

Try for example making a giant cube of ice with cold brewed tea itself, that way when it dissolves, you're essentially just making you steep stronger. You can even blend different teas together! Our Tea Geek, Ken Kawachi, suggests brewing Genmaicha and Chamomile Mint together. Another favorite is cold brewed Jasmine Green with a cube of Muscat Oolong: The Jazz-Cat

You can also use ice as a vehicle for sweetening your drinks. When making cubes, mix in some agave, honey, cane sugar, or even jam, that way when you're enjoying a cup of iced tea in the heat, your drink will turn from rehydrating and refreshing, to refreshingly sweet! This method is particularly great for large batches of iced tea too, think BBQ's and summer time pool parties! 

Check out our new Iced Tea page for more tips on teas to try iced and recipes! 

Our Top Ten Iced Teas


Some teas are best served certain ways: some are better hot, some are even better cold.

When making iced tea, it's all about that refreshing and simple sip. Most people just think of Arnold Palmers or Tropical Green Teas, but most of our #nextlevelquality loose leafs are pretty versatile! We've narrowed it down to our favorite ten steeps that work best simply on their own: chilled, on ice,  and on the rocks!

Iced Summer Cocktails

We've done our fair share of cocktail concocting since we launched Tea People, but we wanted to curate our favorite summer ready spiked sips and put them all in one place. The key to a great summer cocktail is making sure that it's both refreshing and cold, without being watered down due to ice melting or the hot summer heat. 

Our Strawberry Jasmine Rose, Puerh Citrus Punch and Lavender Lemonade all have a bold tea flavor that stays strong amidst any summer heat wave.

Click each image for step-by-step directions and printable recipe cards!