Tea Experience: Bay Moorings

Bay Moorings Restaurant
Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver
High Tea $35 each

Bay Moorings Restaurant is located in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. For those who’ve ever gotten onto the ferry at that location, Bay Moorings Restaurant is literally across the street from the ferry terminal – so if you’re a foot passenger, it’s a stop you could make before getting on with your adventures. The views from their patio are amazing – you get the water with the marina, and then you can see the picturesque BC mountains.

Honestly, the view is gorgeous.

The High Tea at Bay Moorings features tea from Mighty Leaf. I picked the Organic Spring Jasmine (green tea) while my sister opted for the Organic African Nectar (rooibos). We received our teas in cute personal-sized teapots, the teas themselves were in tea bag form. Organic Spring Jasmine has a lovely jasmine aroma to it. This green tea steeped to a pleasant golden orange colour and had a great floral flavour to it. I did have my teapot refilled once, and the flavour was still quite strong, which made the tea enjoyable.

The food came in two tiers with the desserts on top and savouries on the bottom. For the savouries, there were four items each. There was a ham & cheese sandwich, a smoked salmon wrap, a pate and caviar open-face sandwich, and a ginger duck confit. I found the ham & cheese cheese sandwich and pate & caviar sandwich to be a little bit lackluster with nothing to exciting about each of them. The smoked salmon wrap itself wasn’t very picture-worthy, but the flavour was delicious. It had a lot of sauce and dill inside of the wrap though, and I think it might have been better with a bit less sauce inside of the wrap. The winner was the duck confit, followed by the smoked salmon wrap. The duck confit had a lovely ginger flavour, the fat was rendered beautifully, and the meat was moist and well-cooked.

Duck confit.

The desserts featured French macaron, tiramisu, panna cotta, and a slice of coconut cream cake. We each received a different flavour macaron – I ate the green pistachio one while my sister had the lemon. The macaron was nicely made with the crisp outer cookie shell. I’m not a fan of coffee, but the tiramisu had a great custard layer and the cake layer did taste a lot like coffee (unfortunately for me). The panna cotta was delicious – I’ve made panna cotta before so I know it can be a bit of pain to keep the smooth texture, this one was delicious and I would definitely have it again. Lastly, the coconut cream cake had a great cream between the layers. I found the cake itself to be on the dry side (or maybe it’s just me thinking that there should just be a lot more cream!). I’m generally a fan of cakes that have more cream/frosting/icing on it, so that might be where I’m coming from. My favourite desserts were definitely the macaron and the panna cotta.

Above: tiramisu. Below: panna cotta.

For those who aren’t in West Vancouver, Bay Moorings might be a bit of a drive. Luckily it was mostly highway driving for me to get there, and traffic wasn’t too bad when I was going to and from Horseshoe Bay. It was a beautiful day that my sister and I opted to go to Bay Moorings to check out their high tea. Good tea with good views. I’d go back for the smoked salmon wrap, duck confit, and that panna cotta.

Coconut cream cake.

Yunomi’s Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha

Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Flavoured
$7.00USD for 20g

Yunomi has provided me with Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha came to me in resealable kraft paper bag. This green tea comes from the Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden, one of the things that I realy like about Yunomi is that they list the tea gardens that their products come from – so it’s super easy to figure out the specific tea farms that each tea comes from.

When I opened the bag, I was greeted by the smokey aroma of the tea. There are a lot of short twig pieces that are mixed in with the tea leaves. The smoke aroma isn’t as astringent as a lapsong souchong, if you’re familiar with that smoked tea.

Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha in 90°C (194°F) water for 1 minute. My initial steep was for 1 minute in 91°C (195˜F) water.

First Taste

Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha steeps to a beautiful golden orange in a very short period of time. There’s a strong smokey aroma to this tea. On first taste, I notice that beyond the smokey flavour is a touch of bitterness and a mild astringency at the end of each sip. The aroma reminds me a lot of liquid smoke – I think it’d be a great tea to use in cooking to add some depth of flavour (e.g. to a barbecue marinade).

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha twice, adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavour remained consistent throughout. I think it would have held up for a few more steeps.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Yunomi’s Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha was just okay. I think if you love smokey flavours, this would be a great tea for you. I personally prefer more floral notes, which is why it’s just not a favourite for me. I can definitely see myself utilizing the tea in cooking though, to add a bit of liquid smoke flavour to a dish. The smokey flavour is strong, and this tea could probably be steeped for less than 60 seconds if you’re sensitive to bitterness in teas. I think that the aroma and taste of Yakushima Cedar Wood Smoked Hojicha match very well, so if you’re a fan of smokey teas, give this one a try!

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Perfect Pitcher

Perfect Pitcher by DavidsTea
BPA-Free Plastic / 2L (68oz)
$28.00

First Impressions

One of the reasons why I bought the Perfect Pitcher was because I needed another pitcher and the other reason is because it qualified me for DavidsTea’s annual Summer Tea Club. Basically how the club works is that you purchase a qualifying piece of teaware and then you get a percentage off of qualifying loose leaf tea purchases (20% off when you buy 100g or more of one particular tea). Since I buy a lot of fruity tisanes anyways for iced teas during the summer, it seemed like a good deal.

In order to make this purchase worth it, I’d have to spend $140 on qualifying loose leaf tea purchases to ‘save’ what I already spent on the pitcher but I had a lot of gift cards that had been given to me (from birthdays and Christmases) that I kept on forgetting to bring into the store, so it was a combination of cash and gift cards that made the pitcher worth it (and luckily mostly gift cards). So if you don’t spend a lot of money on tea, it might not be worth it to you if you’re not already in the market for a new pitcher (because, frankly, there are cheaper pitchers out there!).

I picked the Soft Blue colour because it best fit with what I had already in terms of teaware and I just liked this colour the best. The tag boasts that the Perfect Pitcher is designed to lay flat, fit inside of a fridge door, and is made of shatter-resistant Tritan plastic (which is BPA-free). The Perfect Pitcher holds 2L (2000mL), or 68oz of liquid. The Perfect Pitcher also has a removeable infuser, and an airtight lid (which is probably good, considering they say you can lay it flat…).

Preparation

Prior to using my Perfect Pitcher for the first time, I unassembled it and washed all the pieces in warm soapy water. The pitcher comes apart into six pieces, with the infuser portion being three pieces. Because it isn’t one continuous piece for the infuser, it makes for easier cleaning if you don’t have a bottle brush, which is nice. The mesh is white, which makes it seem like it might pick up colour easily if you have highly pigmented teas (more on that later). The lid and spout/handle pieces both have an o-ring-like seal layer inside for the air-tight/leak-proof seal.

First Use

The first time I used the Perfect Pitcher was to steep Mango Fruit Punch for a party. It was easy to use, I just scooped the tea into the infuser and then connected it to the lid. Hot water went into the pitcher and then I popped the lid on for it to steep. I found the infuser easy to clean and to remove the loose leaf tea after I was done infusing the fruity tisane. The white mesh of the strainer wasn’t as bright white as it was when I started – it had picked up a bit of a yellow tinge.

DavidsTea’s instructions are to use 4 to 8 Perfect Spoons of dry leaf, and then fill the pitcher half-full (32oz/1L) with hot water, and then allow the tea to infuse as per steeping instructions. After removing the infuser, you top it up with ice to cool down the tea for an iced tea. I actually use my Perfect Pitcher to make iced tea with all water, and then pop the pitcher into my fridge once it’s cooled down to room temperature, or I cold steep it directly in the pitcher with room temperature water (and popped into the fridge for anywhere from 8 to 10 hours).

My Overall Impression

I liked DavidsTea’s Perfect Pitcher. I quite like the design of the pitcher, it’s light-weight and use to use. I find that the handle is comfortable and I do enjoy the colour. I do, however, wish that the infuser’s mesh didn’t pick up colour as easily as it did because I found that it stained with the first use, which wasn’t very fun. I also would like if DavidsTea produced a glass pitcher instead – I actually own a glass pitcher that I purchased from DavidsTea several years ago (designed by another company) – as I just find glass products to be generally more durable.

Sure we’ve been told that BPA is bad for us now, but for a long time it was considered safe so who knows what’s in store for use for the future when it comes to plastic usage? For now, I’ll be using my Perfect Pitcher anyways, it’s super handy to have around and makes for some easy tea steeping. I think the price is a bit steep for what it is, so you’d have to be really wanting a new pitcher to make the price worth it (I thought it was great that I had gift cards to help cover the cost of the pitcher, and my subsequent loose leaf tea purchases!).