Marcus Samuelsson’s Ambessa Teas Come to Seattle
If you have not yet curled up with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef, you can congratulate yourself for waiting–now you can read while sipping one of Samuelsson’s new Ambessa teas, from Harney & Sons. Ambessa means “lion” in Amharic, and if you’re wondering why a Samuelsson is making Amharic references, then yes, you do need to read the book.
You can find the selection of four whole-leaf tea blends (20 sachets a tin, $9) in Seattle at including Pike Place Grocery (1926 Pike Place), Enchanted Florist (8742 Greenwood Avenue), and Savour (2242 New Market Street), among others. If you know of others, please mention in the comments, and we’ll include up here.
The teas each have biographies, recounts a publicist: “Safari Breakfast tea, its robust mixture of Kenyan and Tanzanian estate teas reflect Samuelsson’s birth place in East Africa; Lingonberry Green which represents Samuelsson’s balanced and simple Swedish childhood by combining Japanese and Scandinavian elements; Choco Nut, a black tea that embodies Samuelsson’s Swiss apprenticeship; and The Earl of Harlem, a smoky earl grey symbolizing coming of age in America and finding a new home in Harlem.”
The Earl of Harlem is, for American palates, the obvious entry point: “A smoky, rich and fragrant black tea, The Earl of Harlem contains citrusy layers mixed with traces of bergamot and other floral aromas,” Samuelsson says. (He also has an iced mint tea recipe for you.)
I don’t know if its my tastes maturing or if it is just properly balanced, but this smoke flavor added to tea is really starting to grow on me. It adds a great, and in this case subtle, nuance to an already established taste palate. It counters the sometimes cloying citrus and floral tastes of Earl Grey with a woodsy, earthy feel.