Friday, February 6, 2015

Tea Time at Trader Joe's - Yes, it is Possible

If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's nearby, you probably realize it has something like a cult following. It carries a small selection of interesting and often very tasty items (organic pumpkin pop-tarts anyone?). The parking lot of our Trader Joe's is consistently full of cars, forcing us to circle around many times before finding a coveted spot. The employees are extremely friendly, offering all kinds of suggestions to pair with that siracha BBQ sauce you have in your cart. Of course, some products are a bit dubious (hello weird, dry gnocchi and prepackaged "sushi.") but the great customer service and low prices always bring me back. I seriously love my Trader Joe's. 

Tea time at Trader Joe's!

I was there this weekend buying flowers (super cheap for grocery store flowers) and decided against my better judgement to buy these large lingonberry scones. They have a very moist look that makes me think they were frozen and thawed. And they were 320 calories/scone. Still, I wanted to try them. To round up my shopping spree, I decided to buy Trader Joe's bagged organic green tea. (Side note - I never recommend buying bagged teas. It is always better to buy whole leaf whenever possible. Bagged teas are often just crushed up bits of tea leaves, or tea dust as I like to call it but that is a rant for another time.) At $2.50 for 20 bags, I did not think I would suffer much if they turned out to be terrible. 

Very large lingonberry scones.
I also bought some opal gold apples and vegetables. I think produce at Trader Joe's is often hit or miss. The stuff that is in season is usually very cheap and not bad. There is no other place here that sells kumquats for $4/pound. Opal gold apples are in season so I have been eating them since the beginning of January. They never turn brown, retaining their crisp, off-white color for hours so I enjoy serving them too.

I threw the little white flowers from the winter bouquet ($3.99!) as garnish for the fruit tier. Everything on the plate is in season except for the berries.
What did I think of the tea? It was... not good. I think any serious tea drinker would say the same. It is very generic tasting...tasting more like the paper bag it came in than the tea leaves I know are crushed up inside. The green tea aroma is pretty much nonexistent. Still, it is USDA organic grade so I think it is probably better than other bagged green teas out there. I think if you are not discerning and just want green tea, then this is an ok option. It is cheap and toxin-free. And tea bags are very convenient. 


Their scones? They were bland and gummy. I think more lingonberries and a pinch of sugar would make them taste better. A better option for tea sweets would be their miniature chocolate chip cookies in the tubs. They are incredibly addicting. For a more savory tea, the cheddar twists are also a good choice. I think any of their breads from the bakery section would make for a fantastic savory tier. I sliced up the pretzel loaf and lightly toasted it. The dressing in the middle is Oka's Miso dressing. For a Trader Joe's option, try the Goddess Dressing. It is delicious and goes well with just about everything. 


So, although it is possible to buy all the things you need for tea time time at Trader Joes, I would recommend buying the actual tea elsewhere. 

On a random note - their canned cat food is of exceptional quality.

I love their cheap flowers and potted plants!

Happy sips!