Sweet Summer Reads: Book + Tea Pairing

you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. CS Lewis quoteWe want to help nourish your happy this summer with the perfect summer reading list to pair with your tea. Lucky for us, we have book and tea experts within arms reach of both locations. The Front Range Village makes a trip to Council Tree Library a breeze — just cross the street and walk in. We’re practically roommates with our Downtown friends at Old Firehouse Books, so a Tea + Book list practically writes itself. Katie Auman, Communications Assistant at  Poudre River Public Library District gave us a list of tea infused reads, and Renee Becher at Old Firehouse Books gave us employee favorites for July. After the Leafsters read the synopses and let the plots steep, this is what they have to say:

Old Firehouse Books

Reviews are written by Old Firehouse Books Employees

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Image result for rich people problems“This hilarious book is the 3rd in Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Asians series. It follows a cast of kooky Asians as they try to deal with problems that only plague the ultra-rich. It’s absolutely outrageous and endlessly entertaining to read” – Melanie

Synopsis: A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dance floor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families” (Goodreads)

Pair with: China Da Hong Pao “Big Red Robe” Oolong Tea – “Drink China Da Hong, a classic tea for sure,” said Oliva. Commonly known as “Big Red Robe”. It is on the extreme end of oxidation for an oolong, being 80-90% oxidized, enough to give the appearance of a black tea. The subvariety tea bush used for its leaves are often pruned to being a single trunk, and the leaves used are amongst the largest in tea production. The flavor is rich, just like the characters in this novel.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Image result for when dimple met rishi

“This book is amazing! It’s one of the most wonderful books I’ve read so far this year. Dimple is a strong, smart young woman who takes no nonsense from anyone, and Rishi is the most heart-warming hopeless romantic character I’ve ever fallen in love with.” – Melanie

Synopsis: Traditional Indian values of “finding the ideal Indian husband” don’t really appeal to Dimple, a recent graduate and ready to start a summer camp for web developing. But her parents and her husband to be are attached to traditional arrangements. “Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.”  (Goodreads with edits by Rebekah)

Pair with Fire Chai Black Tea Blend: When you think of an Indian love story, the initial thought is chai. But this book has a non-traditional twist, so Whitney chose a non-traditional chai to pair it with. It has “Fire Chai has extra heat and passion,” he said. Containing black tea, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, licorice, fennel, anise, and our proprietary blend of chilis, this blend can help you warm mind, body, and soul.

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi 


“Beautiful artwork that will be sure to delight readers young and old. Miyakoshi’s charming characters create an adorable, fuzzy feeling that get little ones ready for bed.” – Liz

Synopsis: This beautiful picture book captures the magical wonder a child feels at being outside in the night. Award-winning author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi’s softly focused black-and-white illustrations with just a touch of neutral color have a dreamlike quality, just right for nodding off to sleep with. The book is intriguing in that it contains twice-told stories, once as they are observed and second as the bunny imagines them. This offers a perfect prompt for young children to create extensions of other stories they have read or heard (Goodreads). 

Pair with Peppermint Pat-Tea Herbal Blend

We chose Peppermint Pat-Tea because we wanted to pick something that kids would enjoy. A classic pairing of chocolate and peppermint with the addition of ginger, slippery elm bark and marshmallow root come together for an incredibly tasty delight. This brew has some medicinal benefits as well, soothing sore throats and upset stomachs, helping digestion, and combating nausea.

Hunger: A Memoir of my Body by Roxane GrayImage result for hunger a memoir of (my) body

“This book was SO hard to read. I cried, I raged, I cried more. Roxane Gray is a powerhouse who continues to make me look at myself in a completely new way (and sometimes I don’t like what I see). Read this book now – you will be better for it. – Teresa 

Synopsis: “A searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself” (Goodreads)

Pair with Be Well. Take care of yourself whilst reading this with a cup of Be Well. Composed of ginger root, linden leaf and flower, lemon myrtle, french vervaine, lemongrass, orange peel, echinacea purpea tops and roots, nettle leaf, rose hips, pao d’ arco bark and lemon peel. It’s designed to warm the body and bolster the body’s immunities, to ward off colds or help you get over them quickly.

Poudre River Library

Tea for Two by Jane O’Connor

Synopsis: “[In this children’s picture book] Nancy joins her friend Bree for a tea party and her friend’s teapot is broken. Nancy worries that their friendship may be ruined” (Poudre River Library). Image result for tea for two jane o'connor 

Pair with Rooibos Strawberry Sunshine Herbal BlendWhenever kids are involved, we tend to steer away from traditional caffeinated teas. That’s why Rooibos is the perfect drink to pair with this children’s book. Strawberry Rooibos is a refreshing, clean, and crisp flavor sure to please parents and children alike. Green Rooibos is blended with orange peel, marigold petals, dried strawberries, and peach flavoring harmonize together. This is living proof that health and taste can and do walk hand in hand. This brew is delicious hot and amazing iced– a great pick for your child’s tea party!

The Leaf Reader by Emily ArsenaultImage result for The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

Synopsis: “Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It’s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who’s been their guardian since Mom took off is…eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old book about reading tea leaves and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows—and hopes everyone else does too—that none of it’s real… until suddenly the readings seem real… and increasingly dangerous” (Goodreads).

Pair with China Royal Phoenix “Dan Cong” Oolong Tea: Tasseography, predicting the future by reading tea leaves, is traditionally done with pure, loose leaf teas. Fruit bits and twigs are thought to skew the shapes meant to appear in the bottom of the cup, which may obscure your reading. That’s why we chose China Royal Phoenix “Dan Cong” Oolong Tea. It comes from the Phoenix Mountains in the Guangdong province, China, where there are wild tea plants that remain a source for some of the best oolong teas in the world. Leaves from these old tea trees are prized for their flavor and aroma. Making Royal Phoenix oolong involves precise rolling and baking techniques to fully develop their texture, toasted aroma, and taste of nectarines and peaches. After you savor tea with a rich past, let it give you a glimpse into your future.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Image result for The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This title is “super popular, and always has lots of holds”, said Katie Auman from the library.

Synopsis: Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her remote Yunnan village, has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. The daughter grows up in California, but she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations. A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance” (Provided by publisher, edited by Rebekah).

Pair with: China Tuo-Cha Shou Pu-er Tea: A good Pu-er should be in your cup while reading this book. Pu-er is a tea full of history and complexity. After aging, the leaves are molded into small bowls, or “bird’s nests” and individually wrapped with paper., so it takes a few brews to get them to open up. The first time you brew this tea you throw out the water, similar to how the young girl in this book was abandoned by her mother. This pu-er is made from the large leaf ‘Da Ye’ tea plant varietal, and has a full-bodied and earthy flavor. It can endure several steepings without gaining any astringency.

Tea Shop Mysteries series by Laura ChildsRelated image

Synopsis: “The Tea Shop Mysteries is a series set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.” Titles include Death by Darjeeling, Oolong Dead, Ming Tea Murder, The Teaberry Strangler, to name a few (Goodreads).

Pair with: This series necessitates a different tea for each book. Simply pick a title that catches your eye and drink the tea in the name! Death by Darjeeling would pair perfectly with our Glenburn First Flush Darjeeling Black Tea. Note: Switch to green tea if people around you are mysteriously murdered!


If you’re on a reading roll, check out Old Firehouse Books’ Summer Reading program. They have fun prizes and games for children and adults. The Poudre Library also has Summer Reading fun, so you’ll never be without a good book.

Have you read any of the books on our list? Let us know! Share your tea and reading experience by tagging us in a photo of your Tea + Book pairing on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll repost the winner of a FREE Happiness Supplement!



Why Cold Brew is the Best Way to Drink Tea This Summer

Why Cold Brew is the Best Way to drink tea this summer

Nothing could be easier and more satisfying than cold brew tea. Forget the cold brew coffee craze, tea is the newest trend! Cold brewing tea brings out more amino acids from the leaves which creates a lovely sweetness. This is because there are fewer tannins, a type of polyphenol, that make tea a little bitter. Green tea, for example, is known for its slightly astringent taste when brewed hot which may turn novice tea drinkers away. But cold brewing green tea gives it a smooth, almost sweet taste.

The health benefits of tea are delivered by cold brew with a little less caffeine but that jittery buzz won’t be missed: cold brewing tea brings out more L-theanine, an amino acid in tea that helps sharpen your mind and give you razor focus. It can also help reduce anxiety and high blood pressure.

So how do you cold brew tea? It’s easier than you think: just place your favorite loose-leaf tea in a large jar, fill it water, and pop it in the fridge for a few hours. You don’t have to use as many ounces of tea per cup of water when you cold brew, so it’ll make your tea supplies last even longer. When it’s done brewing, pour the tea through a strainer or cheesecloth and enjoy. Put some ice in a glass, pour in the fresh brew, and relax: you’ve earned it. Dylan Smith, Leafster and Cold Brew Extraordinaire, recommends Golden Monkey for your first cold brew, because “it’s delicious as all hell.”

If you’re intrigued by cold brew but don’t have the time to wait, you need a Steep & Go. The Steep & Go Cold Brew makes your summer tea cravings satiable and convenient. Just add 2-3 pinches of your favorite tea in the BPA-free bottle, pour in some cold water, shake to mix, and let it steep. In just ten minutes, you’ll be enjoying freshly brewed iced tea. The cap has a built-in filter, so you just pop the lid and enjoy! You’ll give those cold brew coffee drinkers something to gawk at in awe when you whip out the Steep & Go. While they wait for days (24 hrs is common) for their heaps of coffee to tediously soak, you’ll be on your merry way with a 10-minute fix of smooth cool tea. It’s so simple, you can brew it anytime and anywhere, and it tastes phenomenal. What are you waiting for? Get brewing.


Teas to try Cold Brewed:

Golden Monkey Black Tea

China Mountain Orchid “Qi Lan” Oolong Tea

China Cui Ming Green


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


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


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.

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

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.

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


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.


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.


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


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