Everyone needs a great place to relax. Why not unwind while enjoying the health benefits of delicious tea?
is happy to offer complimentary tea tasting to patrons. Gather a group of four to six people and enjoy an hour of tea tasting and education. A knowledgeable staff member will teach the process of steeping tea, discuss the variety of flavors and explain the drink's health benefits.
Some friends and I decided to take Goldfish up on its offer. Being a coffee drinker myself, I was skeptical. Much to my delight, I was impressed as soon as I walked in the door. The store is decorated with handcrafted furniture and oil paintings from markets in China, which were handpicked by owners Jim and Janice Girling. After living in Beijing for two years, the couple fell in love with tea. As a result of their new passion, they opened Goldfish Tea in late 2007.
Tea tasting includes a private table and a large selection of teas. Goldfish employee Andrew Lindblom walked my friends and I through the world of tea and opened our eyes to a vast amount of knowledge about the drink.
Lindblom described my thoughts perfectly: “I thought I knew a lot about tea, but only because I didn't know how much there was to know.”
Goldfish recommends that tea tasters try one tea from each major tea family: green tea, black tea and an oolong tea. Each tea selection offers unique health benefits and tastes. Lindblom steeped each variety three different times, allowing us to discover what taste we enjoyed the most.
My friends and I started with a green tea known as Dragon Well A. The A indicates the quality of tea. Compared to a B grade tea, Lindblom describes the A grade teas as having fuller leaves, being fresher and offering a smoother taste. Green teas have more of a hearty, vegetable taste. They are loaded with vitamins A, C and E, which makes this tea great for the skin, immune system and blood flow.
My friend Dawn Massie described the first steeping of the Dragon Well as “corn on the cob-flavored water.” Lindblom quickly pointed out that most tea drinkers dispose of the first steeping and that the flavor changes significantly with each steep. The second and third steeping were much more enjoyable.
Next, we tried an oolong blend named Ginseng Oolong, which is considered a lighter blend of oolong tea. With frequent consumption, oolong teas are known to reduce obesity, decrease stress and promote healthy skin. The oolong flavors offer a variety of tastes, depending on the style of growth and production. Some Oolongs are fruity, while others tend to be more woody and thick-tasting.
My friend Therese Ribant described the flavor of Ginseng Oolong as “florallike, with a nice sweetness.” Like the first flavor, we enjoyed the second and third steeping much more than the first.
The last flavor we tried was Dian Black A from the black tea family. Black teas are the most common among American consumption. This variety has been known to help digestion, stimulate the immune system and promote cardiovascular health. The Dian Black blend is among the stronger blends of black tea. Because of that, we didn't particularly enjoy this choice.
Christina Cline, my sister, said, “The last steep was OK, but the first one was just really harsh. It was too strong for me.”
Taking part in the tea tasting completely opened my mind to the wonderful tastes and benefits of this complex beverage. Tea has no sodium, calories or fat and offers several vitamins, fluoride and antioxidants. Many teas also contain caffeine.
The Girlings picked Royal Oak for their store because of the demographic the city offers – artsy people, college students and the night crowd. Eventually, they would love to open other locations of the tea cafe. Because of the economy, they plan to secure the success of the solo location first.
The name, Goldfish, was chosen for a mixture of reasons. In China, every business has a fishbowl of some sort. Goldfish represent creatures of strength. In Chinese art, they are often seen swimming up waterfalls. Chinese art also shows most fish swimming in pairs, which represents harmony.
In the end, my addiction to coffee has lessened. Since my tea tasting, I have already returned to Goldfish several times. My friends also enjoyed their experience and have a new found love for tea.
This cafe has a calming atmosphere – making it a great place to study, hang out with friends or relax. Even if you don't know a lot about tea, staff at Goldfish will happily lead to your new favorite drink.
Jennifer M. Cline is a journalism student at Wayne State University and a RoyalOak.Patch.com contributer.