A tea for your taste
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:25AM
You never know what triggers a person’s palate. That’s why the staff at Todd and Holland Tea Merchants in Forest Park are prepared to handle the myriad of requests placed on the counter.
Of nearly 200 varieties of teas, the store offers 40 flavored black teas. The store’s best-seller is its original spice tea blend.
Adroitly concocting secret mixes, owner Bill Todd first has his staff taste test them. With a couple days of refinement, a new blend is ready to serve.
“You have to start with great tea,” said Terry Roeder, who has been an employee for six years. “We listen to our customers’ input. We had a couple say they had chamomile vanilla. Bill used a good vanilla oil he blended; we had it and it was fantastic. We’re fortunate to take part in the tasting blends.”
The Rooibos teas — in 18 flavors — are also favorites. Similar to a full-bodied black tea but with five times more antioxidants than green teas, Rooibos teas come from a shrub in South Africa.
Conversion to iced tea is a common occurrence, according to Roeder.
“We’ve have many people say they’ve been trying to get off soda, usually Diet Coke and Pepsi,” she said. “I’ll brew up some tea and throw in some ice. There’s an aromatic sweetness [with original spice]. There’s no sugar and only three calories in the cup so their sweet-tooth is taken care of.”
In the last five years, they’ve found customers who are heeding doctors’ suggestions.
“We’ll have some people come in and ask for a green tea or a Pu-erh, an earthy fermented tea from China,” said Roeder.
“We’ll ask, ‘How’d you find out about that?’ They’ll say they heard it on Doctor Oz’s show.”
A few others that are desired are Passion Fruit, Island Mango and Cinnamon Roasted Almond, a flavored tisane tea which has an aromatic taste.
Others high on the request list are the Ceylon teas made in Sri Lanka.
The store sees a significant increase of traffic in May when the fresh Ceylon teas arrive.