Tea About Town Part III: Special-Tea Twists

Part III explores tea in ways we didn’t know were possible. 

Bean Cycle Coffee Roasters

There’s something special about the house chai at Bean Cycle Roasters. Happy Lucky’s worked with the Bean Cycle to create an exclusive, custom chai blend that is surprisingly good with ginger beer. Penelope Flashner, co-owner, and barista, showed us how they measure heaping scoops of aromatic spices into French presses. We watched as cardamom pods, black tea, and other spices tumbled into large glass presses. With the addition of freshly pressed ginger and a touch of agave, Bean Cycle’s chai is a must try. If you’re looking for a cool summer pick-me-up, order the Sam Clemons. This drink puts a fizzy twist on the specialty chai. By mixing ginger beer and the chai concentrate, the Sam Clemons is a spicy yet refreshing blast of flavor.

happy lucky's tea in cute corked test tube viles at Bean Cycle Coffee Roasters

Mandara Spa and Skin Care

Laura Hughes at Mandara Skin and Body Spa takes tea beyond your taste buds. She uses tea-infused steam during facials to rejuvenate the skin and create a fully immersive experience. The warm aromas from our high-quality teas paired with the spa services immerse your senses in a moment of tranquility and bliss. On the Tea About Town tour, Kari got to experience Linden Street Lemon in a way she never had before: steamy facial bliss accompanied by a scalp and temple massage. The warming steam from the tea washed over her face and the aroma enveloped her senses. Kari had to go back later to book a full facial appointment after the steamy tea teaser.   

Mandara Spa and Skin Care
Photo by Jimena Peck

Joon Kombucha

Without tea, you wouldn’t have Joon kombucha. The handcrafted, raw, probiotic drink is made with Colorado honey and a custom green tea blend from Happy Lucky’s. What makes Joon kombucha special? Scott Compton uses local honey instead of cane sugar. This makes Joon not as sweet as regular kombucha and adds an extra nutrient boost from honey. Don’t be deterred if kombucha is not your cup of tea. Some people are scared away the vinegary drink, making it out to be an acquired taste. But Joon kombucha is something even novice kombucha drinkers will love. With a touch of sweetness and no overwhelming vinegar tang, it’s a refreshing and healthy choice that can be enjoyed by anyone. By the glass, or by the growler, Joon kombucha is a great addition to the Happy Lucky family. You can find Joon kombucha on tap at the Old Town and the Front Range Village teahouses. To find out where else to find Joon, check out their website.

joon kombucha logo

Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar

If you’re looking for something other than a caffeine buzz you’ll love our collaboration with Jennifer Seiwald at Summit Cider. You can find Summit Cider at Scrumpy’s Cider Bar, which is on College Ave. The drinks aren’t the only bubbly things here. Jennifer, who owns and operates the bar, has a bright excitement that follows her around, and an infectious smile. From apples to brews, Jennifer likes to keep it local when she can.  After trying over six combinations, Master Tea Blender Andy Boone collaborated with the Summit Cider team to create three ciders with Happy Lucky’s tea: Linden Street Lemon, Carrot Orange Ginger and the Khmer Chai for the winter. The sour zing of Linden Street Lemon makes for a perfect summer cider, while the warming chai spices are perfect for cooler weather.  three cider samples feat. Happy Lucky's tea  at Scrumpy's Cider Bar with hedgehog Mascots in Fort

Social

If an evening of classy drinking is in your future, walk down the stairs to Social. The upscale speakeasy was the perfect way to polish off a long week of Tea About Town adventures. Nathan, a bartender at Social, showed us how they make one of their most popular drinks: The Old Stogie. Nathan told us that the Rye whiskey based beverage is 

photo of an old stogie feat. Happy Lucky's tea at social bar in fort collins with the menu

basically an Old Fashioned, but there’s nothing basic about it. Nathan placed a small bit of the custom blended Peach Earl Grey on a plate and lit it on fire. He quickly flipped a glass that he had wiped with Orange and Peach Earl Grey simple syrup. As Earl Grey smoldered under the cup, a sweet smoky aroma filled the air and stuck to the inside of the glass. Then, he gracefully flipped the cup back upright and filled it with the drink. Before you even taste the flavor your palette is primed by the smoke. “Your whole head is involved,” marveled Kari as she sipped her well-earned cocktail.

More Tea to be Had

One week, fifteen local businesses, and we still didn’t make it to every location that uses Happy Lucky’s Tea. The Tea About Town tour opened our eyes to the myriad of innovative creations and the amazing community of Northern Colorado. It seems like tea has a special ability to bring people together, and we love that it continues to nourish the happy of our local collaborations.

On our Tea About Town tour, we discovered many unique uses, custom blends, and amazing people. But you have got to go to know. Take yourself on a Tea About Town tour! You’ll discover tea in ways you never knew before.

More Places to find our tea:

Tea About Town Part II: In Your Food

Part II of the Tea About Town tour takes our taste buds and our tummies on foodie bonanza. 

Revolution Artisan Pops

Other Local gems use Happy Lucky’s tea to create something completely different. Revolution Artisan Pops uses Hibiscus Tea as a base for their best selling pop: the Raspberry Hibiscus. The fresh berries burst in your mouth and the tart floral notes from hibiscus dance around every bite. They also are using Happy Lucky’s Jasmine tea for a seasonal Jasmine Rhubarb popsicle. Revolution Artisan Pops offers a variety of innovative flavors like Harbinger’s Coffee & Sweet Cream, Meyer Lemon & Fresh Ginger, and even Pupsicles (for your pooch).

 

Sara from Revolution Market showing off Happy Lucky's Infused pops
Sara at Revolution Market with Happy Lucky’s Infused Pops

 

The pop shop is located on College Avenue, but they are produced in the newly opened Revolution Market on Oak Street. The market may be small, but it’s filled to the brim with goodies. With about 50 Colorado companies represented and an abundance of healthy options, a revolution has begun at this small grocery store.

The Waffle Lab

Fort Collins Food Truck lovers will recognize this next collaboration: The Waffle Lab has found some creative ways to dish out tea. We found that you could sip it and eat it. They serve a variety of loose-leaf teas and some twists on classic drinks. The Minty Palmer uses our Moroccan Mint Green Tea instead of a regular black blend, which brings a basic Arnold Palmer to another level. On our tour, we tried their classic Belgian style liege waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

 

waffle lab with cider and tea soaked strawberries of Happy Lucky's tea
Cider & Tea Infused Strawberries & Egyptian Dreams at The Waffle Lab

 

The special tea twist? The berries had been soaked in Scrumpy’s Cider and Egyptian Dreams. Creativity is bouncing off the wood-paneled walls at The Waffle Lab. Chefs are encouraged to experiment with recipes and create new masterpieces. We’re happy to know that our tea is in good hands at The Waffle Lab and excited to see what new recipes they come up with.

Linden Street Cafe

Linden St. Cafe is another great place to eat and drink the tea you love. With tea-infused scones and a selection of loose-leaf teas, what else could you ask for? Attempts to mix it right into the batter left the tastebuds wanting, so Ezra, baker, and barista, began creating tea-infused butter. On our Tea About Town tour, we got to try a Shakti Chai infused scone with a layer of thinly sliced apples. As soon as the scone meets meet your mouth, there is an explosion of chai spice. As the warming herbal blend of Chamomile, Rooibos Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom dance around your taste buds, the tartness of the apple slices through to create a well-rounded flavor. To complete the experience, we drank English Breakfast tea. The warming black tea highlights the chai spices.

 

linden street cafe scone infused with Shakti Chai and english breakfast tea from Happy Lucky's Teahouse in Fort Collins CO
Shakti Cha Scone & English Breakfast Tea

The Gold Leaf Collective 

The Silver Seed food truck has been driving the streets of Fort Collins since 2014. But this year Taylor Smith, owner, and founder, opened a brick and mortar restaurant called  The Gold Leaf Collective. “No Sysco and Shamrock here,” Smith said when we visited him on our tour because chefs partner with local farms to create magical vegan meals.  You can enjoy a custom earl gray blend dubbed “Daniel Gray” after one of the chefs, that was created in collaboration with Master Blender Andy Boone. With notes from smokey Lapsang Souchong, the unique blend has a distinct Colorado taste. The tea itself is an experience (only available at The Gold Leaf!), but they have also created Daniel Gray glazed vegan scones, shortbread cookies, and even sorbet.

Kari and Taylor sip custom blended Daniel Gray tea from Happy Lucky's at The Gold Leaf Collective
Kari and Taylor Sipping Daniel Gray

 

The chefs have incorporated other Happy Lucky’s teas into their food in the past, like Vitalitea Sorbet, and are periodically switching up flavors and infusions. You can taste the love in the food, but you can also feel it in the air. The small restaurant is buzzing with positivity and generosity. If you can’t decide what you want to eat, just order The Preferential. The master chefs will whip up a surprise meal and donate $2.00 to a local nonprofit.  The chefs mix up their menu based on seasonal availability, so you’re going to have to visit this creative little restaurant many times. Take it from us, it won’t be a chore.


Did you read Part I? Catch up here to learn about the different ways to enjoy Happy Lucky’s tea straight from the cup around town.

Stay tuned for Part III: Special Tea Twists.

Tea About Town Part I: Straight from the Cup

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Local collaboration and creativity are alive and well in Northern Colorado, and Happy Lucky’s Teahouse has found its way into some amazing places because of it. The Northern Colorado community is a closely knit one, so naturally, local businesses work together to support each other. From Laporte to Loveland, tea is everywhere. Sometimes it’s right where you would expect it, like a local cafe. Yet other establishments use tea in ways that might surprise you. Last week, we took ourselves on a Tea About Town tour to explore the innovative uses of Happy Lucky’s tea.

Because we visited so many wonderful establishments, this adventure will be documented in three parts: Straight from the Cup, In Your Food, and Special Tea Twists.

The Coffee Tree, Where Good Things Grow

Our first stop on the Tea About Town tour brought us to Loveland, Colorado, and it was clear when we walked into the bustling cafe that they stay true to their name: The Coffee Tree Where Good Things Grow. Positivity bubbled out of the baristas and flowed into the tea and coffee they served, with every interaction accompanied by a smile. The Coffee Tree may be primarily focused on coffee, but they offer an impressive selection of Happy Lucky’s tea: thirteen loose-leaf teas to choose from. Beyond the tea and coffee selection, this little Loveland shop has a lot of love to offer. It is an independent and family owned business dedicated to consumer responsibility and giving back to the community. Owners Heidi, Michael, Maureen and Bob Trash like to choose local and responsibly, supporting family-owned farms and direct trade coffee.

Watch our Facebook Live video here.

White Tree Sushi

Take a step away from the traffic rushing down Taft Hill and Elizabeth into the King Soopers plaza and you will find quiet refuge at  White Tree Sushi. The small restaurant serves authentic Japanese and Korean cuisine, making for a tasty cultural fusion.

whitetree
Relaxation Tea & Chicken Katsu

The atmosphere is “…the comfortable area in between [formal and casual],” said Stephan, the general manager. Inky koi fish and mountain ranges are all hand brushed by Anna, the owner, and chef. Since tea was discovered in Asia, it only makes sense to end a meal at White Tree with a lovely pot of Happy Lucky’s Tea. Take a break from the noise of the outside world with Relaxation Herbal Blend, or invigorate your senses with some Oolong.

 

Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House

Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House is a nonprofit event space, letterpress print shop, and bar/cafe. If the name sounds familiar, it is because they run a bookstore

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Hibiscus Ginger Tea

out of the Bean Cycle. However, they wanted to find a space that was “…more conducive to intimate cultural offerings,” according to Todd Simmons, founder, and director. The Publick House has become just that. They have hosted music, yoga, drawing, book discussions, and even a lumberjack competition in the new space. They also host a nice selection of Happy Lucky’s loose-leaf tea, along with a custom blended Wolverine Chai Wolverine Chai.The peppery spice-forward blend is gently counterbalanced by a sweet creamy deliciousness that is sure to perk you up.

Watch our Facebook Live video here.

Momo Lolo Coffee House

A small coffee shop in the corner of Campus West attracts many Colorado State University students. Coming in and sharing a pot of Happy Lucky’s tea gets many through finals, according to Colin, owner, and founder of the brightly colored cafe. On our Tea About Town tour, we learned that Matcha smoothies are the best thing since sliced bread (according to Rebekah, social media coordinator). We tried the Morning Sunshine Smoothie, which is a delightful blend of peach, milk, and matcha. It was a perfect pick-me-up and creative use for matcha. They also make matcha lattes, chai, and specialty espresso drinks.

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Happy Lucky’s Tea at Momo Lolo Coffee House

Watch our Facebook Live video here.

Nuance Chocolate

Chocolate connoisseurs and novices alike are guaranteed to find something good at Nuance. Toby Gadd, one of the owners and founders of Nuance, is dedicated to making authentic and ethically sourced chocolate, and to educating people along the way. Nuance is one of only 30-40 companies in the U.S. that makes its own chocolate from raw cacao beans. Toby is often seeking out local collaborations, using local honey and spices from farms around town. In the past, he collaborated with Happy Lucky’s to create a chai

Nuance Truffle and Lucky's Tea
Rooibos Raspberry & Ghana Truffle

truffle. But the experience we sought out was tea and chocolate pairing. “When you pair things you can’t’ really guess, you have to taste and try and taste again,” Toby said. The complexity of chocolate required Toby and George (co-owner of Happy Lucky’s) to sit down and try dozens of chocolate and tea pairings (what a travesty!) to find the perfect marriage. We tried Rooibos Raspberry tea with a dark Ghana truffle. The fruity notes paired nicely with the dark smooth chocolate, each bite richer than the last. We recommend sipping tea to warm your mouth and prime your palate with the soothing rooibos so that each bite of chocolate dreamily melts in your mouth.

Watch our Facebook Live video here.

FoCo Cafe

Fort Collins is more than a city, it’s a compassionate community, and the FoCo Cafe is an example of the great things we can accomplish when we come together. With the motto “feeding our community ourselves,” the small nonprofit, donation only cafe runs on the spirit of giving back.“We make healthy, nutritious food available to all people,” said Kathleen Baumgardner, who founded the nonprofit with her husband Jeff. The concept is simple: everyone has the right to a good meal. You walk in, pay what you can, pay what you normally would, or pay it forward so that someone else can eat. If you don’t have the money, you can volunteer your time. As part of the meal, you can enjoy water, coffee, or a bottomless cup of iced Relaxation tea from Happy Lucky’s.

foco cafe
A stable of the Fort Collins Community

Watch our Facebook Live video here.


Stay tuned for parts II and III of the Tea About Town tour. The Facebook Live event is also available to watch on our Facebook page.

Beyond the Cup: Tea-Infused Cooking

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The Leafsters at Happy Lucky’s Teahouse are always trying to find more ways to ingest tea. They slurp, brew and inhale the stuff, and now have taken their tea love a step further – they eat it. Eat tea, you say? Who wants to chew on tiny dried leaves? It tastes great when brewed and poured into a cup, and the health benefits are numerous, but why fix something that’s not broken?  However, it is amazing to discover how much more you can get out of tea beyond a cup of steamy goodness. Tea infused cooking and baking is a whole new culinary frontier: imagine taking a sweet, smooth bite into a delicately flavored matcha infused donut. Or, if savory is your thing, try a warming bowl of butternut squash soup infused with the smoky earth flavors of Lapsang Souchong.  If your mouth is watering and you want to learn how to infuse tea flavors into your next meal, here are a few ideas.

How to incorporate tea into cooking:

Cooking with tea is a creative and fun process, but it does not have to be complicated. You can enhance decadent desserts or savory suppers with tea, so the possibilities for experimentation are endless. Here are some methods you can try:

Dry rubs:

When cooking with tea, think of it as a spice. It’s really just a concentrated flavor encased in a dried leaf. For a rich, earthy flavor, grind up Velour Pu-er and use it as a rub for steak.

Marinades:

The subtle flavor of tea can add a complex dimension to any marinade. Try a Sweet Tea Chicken marinade, or a Black Tea Soaked Tofu to produce complex flavors working together in all the right ways.

Grind it:

Sprinkling ground tea leaves into meals is a quick way to get the best of both worlds. Our Hojicha ground and sprinkled over vanilla ice cream is a particularly nice combination. You could also create a savory dusting of ground Lapsang Souchong with a dash of garlic for your favorite vegetable dishes.

Blend it:

Matcha is a great addition to almost any smoothie. Put some in a blender with a banana and some milk. Your taste buds will thank you immediately.

Infuse it:

In an article called, “A Bit of Tea Alchemy,” Robert Wemischner, pastry chef, and culinary educator said: “Whether butter, cream, or oil, food chemistry tells us that fat is a carrier of flavor to the palate”. The best way to carry tea flavors into baking is to whip up some tea infused butter. The trick is to melt unsalted butter in a saucepan and add tea leaves. Let it sit for about 5 minutes on low heat. Then, remove and let it cool down for another 5 minutes. Pour your tea butter through a fine sieve, making sure to press on the leaves to squeeze any last flavor into your infusion. Let the butter cool to room temperature and use as you would in your baked goods.

 

scone
Scones at Happy Lucky’s made at the Linden Street Cafe

 

At Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, we have collaborated with Linden Street Cafe to create tea infused scones. The flavors rotate based on what the baker and Leafsters are excited about each week. Some past and present infusions have been:

  • Madame Grey Scones 
  • Matcha Scones with Lemon Glaze
  • Honey Jasmine Scones
  • Chamomile Lavender Scones (sometimes with blueberries!)
  • Egyptian Dreams Scones with Pears/Apples
  • Shakti Chai Scones with Apples
  • Matcha Scones with Lemon Glaze
  • White Acai Scones with Blueberries or Lemon Glaze
  • Blackberry Sage Cheesecake 
  • Mahatma Masala Chai Cheesecake

If you’re looking for some recipes to try yourself, create a Shakti Chai infused butter for the most exciting oatmeal raisin cookies you’ll ever have, or use Madame Grey in a custard by infusing the tea into the cream.

Eat it as is:

Give your next meal a nutritional boost and a little extra fiber by adding spent green tea leaves. After you enjoy a nice cup of Sencha, Gyokuro, or Genmaicha tea, toss the leaves into some rice and veggies and enjoy. You could also toss your tea leaves in Tamari or Shoyu for a tasty tea salad.

Tea it:

How do you make tea? Boiling water and leaves. If you ever have a recipe that calls for water, just substitute it for actual tea. Use smoky teas like Lapsang Souchong for a soup stock or stew recipe. When making rice, you can discover a delightful new flavor by adding Jasmine Tea to the boiling water.

Tea Seed oil:  

This nutritious oil can be used like any other cooking oil. Its slightly nutty aroma can bring out the best in a savory dish like roasted veggies.  Since 3rd century B.C., Tea Seed Oil has been consumed for its amazing nutritional benefits. It resembles olive oil and grapeseed oil in its excellent storage qualities and low content of saturated fat. Recent laboratory studies performed by the University of Nebraska have shown that this unique oil is one of the most highly nutritious edible oils. Tea Seed Oil may help boost the immune system, maintain healthy cholesterol levels and promote cardiovascular health. Salad dressing, stir fry, dipping, sauteeing, marinades… the possibilities are endless.

If you aren’t quite ready to take it on in your own kitchen, you can still experience the delight of tea infused foods right here in Fort Collins. We’ve collaborated with several businesses in the community to bring tea to the next level. Starting May 22nd, we will take you on a Tea About Town Tour. Join our live stream on Facebook to learn more about the tea and food scene in Downtown Fort Collins. Some stops on our tour will be:

Hope to see you there!

What recipes do you want to try? Let us know. Share your favorite recipes with us on Facebook, where we’ve posted some of ours.

Unlocking the Elusive Third Flavor: The Magic of a Tea Sommelier

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Tea and Cheese Pairings at Happy Lucky’s takes on the newest foodie trend

Fort Collins is known for having quite the foodie scene, but not the kind that boasts three Michelin stars. In New York City, a fine dining establishment called Eleven Madison Park serves all inclusive dinners for $295 dollars per guest and even made #1 in The World’s Top 50. It might surprise you that Happy Lucky’s Teahouse shares something in common with this high-end establishment — tea and food pairing.

Tea sommeliers are a rising trend in the foodie world. Western culinary innovators are taking traditional eastern teas and strategically pairing them with food to create an invigorating new experience. Similar to wine sommeliers, tea sommeliers need to have a deep understanding of the subtle nuances of tea. The tea industry has a strict certification process in the works that is similar to the wine industry standards.  Much like a wine sommelier, a tea sommelier must refine their palate and have a well-rounded understanding of the history and region the tea is from. At Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, our staff develops these skills. Leafster Olivia Marks has been collaborating on a perfect tea and cheese pairing with our neighbors at the Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro, experimenting with different tea and cheese combinations to find the perfect match. It doesn’t always work out but Olivia says that’s part of the fun because when they do go together:

“…it’s like magic,” according to Kari Grossman, co-owner of Happy Lucky’s.

Would you expect a traditional Japanese green tea like Kukicha or “twig tea,” followed by a bite of Prima Donna (a gouda parmesan hybrid cheese) to melt into a savory flavor reminiscent of Indian food? Probably not. But somehow, mixing and matching teas and cheese reveals a whole new flavor profile.

“It’s like this elusive third flavor. Almost like you’re eating a really nice meal,” Olivia said as she mulled over the kukicha and parmesan flavors melting in her mouth.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 1.34.21 PMAn aspiring tea sommelier should be open to learning as much as they can about the slight variations in tea flavor profiles. To assist them, The International Tea Masters Association created a wheel of flavor descriptors to help define what they are tasting. This gives tea connoisseurs a robust set of adjectives to describe teas beyond ‘earthy’ or ‘floral’. Something that has a ‘nutty’ taste might be narrowed down to a ‘toasted’ flavor. This specificity helps aspiring tea sommeliers dive into the ways these flavors will interact with different foods. If done right, the perfect tea and food pairing brings out a whole new flavor.

With any blossoming new trend, much of the knowledge comes from experimenting. Some combinations are a total bust, but that will not stop tea sommeliers from sipping for the perfect combination. At Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, we provide the perfect introduction to the newest trend.

The Welsh Rabbit prepares a plate with two complementary cheeses and Happy Lucky’s pairs them with two different teas.These plates are prepared twice a week, so you have to get them while you can. Here are some of our past and present pairings:

Watch Olivia and Kari’s tea and cheese pairing by visiting our Facebook page