Birds don't actually pick the teas sold by Bird Pick Tea & Herb. The name relates to a story told to the founders by their Chinese grandfather about how the finest teas were cultivated in times past. Tea farmers would carefully observe birds to discover which tea leaves they would eat. They would then cultivate whichever teas the birds picked. This assumes, of course, that birds have good taste in tea.
Bird Pick Tea & Herb is part of a much larger enterprise called Wing Hop Fung (meaning Together Forever Prosper) founded in 1985. Besides a thriving Chinese import business, which started as an herbal shop in LA's Chinatown, they also have three tea shops in Pasadena, Culver City and Santa Monica. All of their teas, which are available for purchase online as well as in their shops, are imported directly from their own estates in China to their warehouse in Los Angeles.
Their immense line of teas includes everything from Precious Rare White Tea and Organic Artisan Shizuoka Sencha to Masala Chai and Chrysanthemum Pu-Erh. We tasted one of their newest varieties, Tranquili-tea, a blend of chamomile, lavender and mint. The subtle, ever-elusive flavor of lavender could have easily been lost in this blend, in which the mint — peppermint rather than spearmint — predominates. Chamomile softly mellows the sharpness of the mint, thereby enabling the lavender's presence to be detected. Bird Pick's Tranquili-tea is, as its name suggests, a relaxing brew best consumed at night. Now, what kind of bird would have picked this tea?
Price: $7 for 12 full-leaf pyramid tea bags; $15 for 4 oz. loose leaf tea
For more information, visit www.birdpick.com