Episode #003 – Loosen Up with Loose Leaf Tea at Flying Cloud Tea
In today’s episode we sit down with Nick & Nicolette Spears from Flying Cloud Tea & Gift Shop in Dunedin, FL. We discuss the artistry behind loose leaf tea, tea pairings, and more. This quaint tea shop is a gem to enjoy and learn about the artistry of an old tradition.
Below we have provided some show notes to follow along with if you would like. Besides hosting our podcast here on the website, we also have it streaming on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and Tune In.
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10:37 – Nicolette discuss her lifelong career in tea while Nick has worked in a variety of jobs through life.
11:45 – From the beginning Nicolette fell in love with the history of tea and became hooked on the study. This love moved her and Nick to open their first tea place in Kentucky. After some time they decided to expand by opening in Florida.
13:45 – While here in Florida, both locations are completely family run.
14:25 – Here we learn about why loose leaf tea is so much better than your typical bagged teas.
15:43 – They carry roughly around 120 plus teas for you to try and buy.
16:34 – We start learning about some of the flavors and what teas Nicolette and Nick are personally fond of at this moment. Also, we start discussing some of the artistry that goes into tea production.
19:00 – What is behind the many terms you hear like imperial, pearls, and tips? These are some good tips for your next purchase of loose leaf tea. Also, Nick helps us to get past some marketing terms like Monkey picked Oolong.
20:27 – How do you ensure buying a good tea? One key thing is to taste before you buy and that is a unique facet of Flying Cloud Tea in that they let you try before you buy.
21:35 – Let’s start digging into how tea is made and where it comes from.
23:06 – Today we were drinking a tea called Vietnamese Golden Tippy and discuss the Pool Boy’s bitterness.
24:41 – What creates the difference between tea’s like green, white, oolong, and others? We also discuss why some are more rare and more expensive than others. With these changes you also get much more drastically different flavors.
27:10 – What makes a tea traditional and what kind of flavors are added to make nice blends. Nick and Nicolette do some of their own blending as well for things like sleep and arthritis aid.
29:02 – At Flying Cloud you can come down to enjoy some 101 on tea. During this time you can try the differences and learn all about the history and art of tea.
29:25 – One of the biggest issues in most tea experiences is tea being way too hot along with steeping too long. Water is a vital aspect that changes the flavor and potentially ruining the outcome. A good rule is the lighter the color the more susceptible.
32:00 – While a tea shop mainly, they also offer a wide selection of all the things you need to get you started on your tea journey.
33:22 – Tea pairing is much like wine pairing. For instance, chocolate is good with a milky tea. While a grassy Sencha from Japan is great with raspberries. Tea is very vegetal and earthy which offers some unique pairing ideas you may not get with other drinks.
36:23 – Nick & Nicolette have a true passion for tasting different things like wine and bourbon. They do whatever they can to enhance their abilities to learn about flavors.
37:09 – When should you use or not use honey? Honey can be a detriment to the tea, especially with savory flavored tea.
38:04 – What brought them to Dunedin? They really enjoyed the community in the area plus the tucked away yet accessible location. They have found some interesting comparisons from Kentucky to Dunedin to Arizona.
39:47 – They have reduced the gift section in order to increase area for tea blending. They want to increase the tasting room experience by becoming more about the tea and education. Also, they have tea pairing reservations along with their tea 101 classes.
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