Tea & Girl Scout Cookie Pairings February 20 2022

It's that time again! Girl Scout Cookie season is here, and as experts in flavor pairing and curating delicious teatime experiences, we're here to guide you through the ideal complementing teas for your favorite cookies...

Our Annual Holiday Gift Guide! November 13 2021

image of wrapped gifts with text overlay reading "friday afternoon tea's holiday gift guide, we've got you covered"
'Tis the season, Teahearts, and what a great season for sharing warmth, joy and love through tea! 2021's holiday season is a heckuva time for us all, with supply lines and shipping times and health and safety all to be considered simultaneously. We know a lot of you are feeling a lack of inspiration, and our crew is here to help! Check out our roundup for every Thirsty Nerd in your life.
 Photo of tea leaves in a cup with text reading "for the friend who's always sick: Lemon Ginger Echinacea"

We all...

Comparative Tasting: Teaneer Nilgiri Black across three brewing temps. November 04 2021

Photo of large wiry black tea leaf with text reading "Teaneer Estate Nilgiri Black"

The thermodynamics of tannic extraction are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you may find yourself despairing that your water wasn't quite hot enough to brew that cup of green as quickly as you like. The flip side? That tea is smoother and sweeter with little-to-none of the bitter astringency you might have otherwise found. Your cup of Assam black tea may be too hot to drink for quite awhile due to brewing at a full boil, but on the other hand, dat full body and bracing texture.

Temperature has a remarkable influence on the astringency of your cuppa, with a higher temp. brew leaning toward greater tannic pull and lower temp brew leaning toward lesser tannic pull. Let's take a closer look through examination of tasting notes across three different brews of the same leaf.

A note about Teaneer's Nilgiri Black Tea, which we will be exploring today: the Teaneer estate in South India’s fertile Nilgiri region, a region vital to India’s booming tea industry. While most of this region predominantly focuses on commodity tea (mass-produced, mid-grade leaf ideal for bagging and blending), there are a few farms in the region cultivating specialty styles. Teaneer (aka Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm) is one of these farms. This particular black tea may not have a fancy name or flashy marketing attached, but every sip highlights the ayurvedic farming commitment and hands-on care applied to every pick on this farm. The owners, brothers Suresh and Prabhu Nanjan, are true masters of unusual and thoughtful leaf styles. The black tea we are sampling today is an elegant example of their practice.

We cupped this leaf at three different temperatures and took notes to illustrate the shift in flavor, aroma and body. Each brew round used five grams of dried leaf, twelve ounces of water, and was brewed in an identical French press for exactly two minutes. My notes on each round can be found below, along with a photo of the brew in front of a white wall with good lighting so you can see the subtle shift in color as well.


Photo of french press labeled "175F" with text summarizing tasting notes.

Brew One - 175°F:

    Texture: Medium-bodied with a smooth finish, this round has no obvious tannic dryness of which to speak.

    Aroma: Smooth black tea with notes of aloe and plu.

    Flavor: Soft black tea flavor meets field flowers and clean river water.


Photo of french press labeled "185F" with text summarizing tasting notes.

Brew Two - 185°F:

    Texture: A bit drier around the edges of the mouth, but still a relatively smooth medium bodied brew. 

    Aroma: Clean black tea and wildflowers, hint of young fig.

    Flavor: A bit grassier, but not assertively so. Bright and floral.


Photo of french press labeled "205F" with text summarizing tasting notes.

Brew Three - 205°F:

    Texture: Still medium-bodied, but a touch brassier on the edges.

    Aroma: Sea water dominates my nose, delicately algal-briney.

    Flavor: Seaweed presence carries through here, paired fascinatingly with notes of coriander.


Each palate is unique, so your tasting notes will likely be somewhat different from mine. That being said, let this breakdown serve as an example of how dramatically a tea can change purely from  brewing at different temperatures!

I highly encourage you to perform your own experiments with your favorite teas, as well as those you haven’t particularly enjoyed in the past. Try different temperatures, different times, different methods. Tea is an incredibly sensitive creature. I think you’ll be fascinated by all the new layers you discover!

Happy sipping!


Friday's Top 5 Tea Book Picks July 27 2021 1 Comment

The early stages of every tea lover’s journey will face a crisis of direction. It’s inevitable, that moment your eyes go wide at the sheer vastness of the world of tea and all its possible avenues of exploration and you find yourself paralyzed with no idea which road to set foot upon first. Every day of my professional life, people ask “how did you learn so much about tea?” and “what books do you...

How to read Indian and Sri Lankan tea grading July 22 2021

An infographic chart reading "Indian and Sri Lankan Letter Grade Guide" with stripped down version of content in blog post body.

"Yes, I'd like two ounces of the Darjeeling...sfff...tug..fop?"

We hear your attempts at pronouncing this alphanumeric stew every day at the tea house, and who can blame you? When an estate or region name is followed by a gibberish string of letters and numbers and you have no idea what they mean but remember your grandmother pouring you delicious steaming cups of fine Indian black tea and just...

Bomb Dot Com Scone Recipe! May 05 2021 1 Comment

My older sibling Rebecca and I dubbed this recipe "bomb dot com" when we were in our early 20s and it's been the family standard ever since. You can put in literally anything you want, and the technique of freezing and grating your butter followed by a light lamination process (think croissant dough, but way simpler and rougher) makes for obscenely flaky scones that can adapt to any menu theme or...

Chai with KP (super special guest post!) April 06 2021


So,  I've been asked to talk to you about my love for chai and I don't know where to really begin, hahaha. Honestly, I suck at writing, but here I am compelled to write about chai for the sake of chai, so if that does not tell you how much I love this sweet, spiced concoction from the Indian subcontinent, then I don't know what will!

A steaming cup of chai on a railing with a city backdrop behind it
photo by @KP11Studios


When feelings have no flavor February 06 2021 3 Comments

    One interesting component of Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia is the difference between word flavors and feeling flavors. What I mean by this is that the word "happy" tastes one way, but the feeling of being happy tastes entirely different. When I read the word "happy," my tongue is coated with sweet orange oil and the sensation of catching a snowflake on the tip of the tongue. Pops of...

Tea Brewing 101 January 20 2021 1 Comment

The shiny cut jewel that is the tea industry has many many beautiful facets. We see plants as art and have hearts open to the new and unusual. Science and innovation intrigue us and a connection to the earth drives us. We are in a line of passion that naturally lends itself to compassion and hospitality. Overall, tea people are wonderful! 

Unfortunately, there are also flaws in the jewel of our...

Behind the Blend: Moon Princess January 07 2021


Before we get into this dreamy perky explosion of teen magical girl flavor, a word about synesTEAsia:

    Synesthesia is a neurological cross-wiring of the senses that leads the individual to experience sound as color, numbers as personalities, words as flavors and so on. There are a lot of different forms of synesthesia, and it is not uncommon for synesthetes to experience multiple forms to...

Tea Lore: Wei Yin and Guanyin, the Iron Goddess of Mercy December 18 2020

Tea Legend Time!

Ti Kwan Yin (also spelled Tieguanyin) is commonly called "Iron Goddess of Mercy," as it's named for Guanyin, a Chinese deity of kindness and compassion. The story goes that a poor farmer named Wei Yin spent all his days in back-breaking labor, but still found moments to tend to a dilapidated statue of Guanyin in a run-down temple he passed every day on his way to and from the work...

Stress Management in the Shittiest of Times November 09 2020 3 Comments

My hands have been freezing like a damn corpse for the entirety of Fall, I've had multiple stress nightmares every night this week and a persistent right lower eyelid twitch for nearly a month. Time alternates between zooming past and sluggishly progressing at a glacial pace, neither of which thrill me. When I ask my friends "how are you doing?" I can't help but say it in the "I already know the...

Tea Pets 101 October 28 2020

    Have you been harboring a curiosity over the small statues in Chinese tea shops? Do your friends, with their fancy slatted trays and rare oolongs, have a little friend who frequently graces their tea table? Are you super super into tiny cute animal figurines and delicious teas? You, my friend, are ready to get hooked on tea pets.

    These little buddies date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368...

Recipe: Lemon Pound Cake with Death's Flower Glaze October 09 2020

 Lemon Pound Cake with Death's Flower Glaze

Death's Flower puerh tea blend
Death's Flower

Hello, darlings!

A few months back our house teen, Teacup, designed for us a whole collection of teas inspired by the hit D&D actual play show Critical Role. The blend featured in today's recipe post immediately became a fan favorite, and we drink it frequently in our house as well! Death's Flower is inspired by Caduceus Clay, a kind-hearted...

Ten years of tea in Seattle October 05 2020

Friday Afternoon Tea turns 10 today!

It has been my heart's joy and pleasure to serve and help cultivate this wonderful communitea over the past decade.

From a single bookshelf of tea in my apartment's dining room to a full-fledged store in Seattle's darling Wallingford neighborhood, we have a lot of growth to celebrate!

Ten years of scrapping and stubborning-out has paid off for us in a big way. We...

Diving into Pu-Erhs September 21 2020

Hello, Thirsty Nerds!

I've been receiving quite a number of emails, dms & in-person questions regarding pu-erhs lately. It seems there's an upswing in popularity for this complicated and delicious tea family and y'all are thirsty for knowledge!

Pu-erh tea (most closely for American tongues pronounced as "poo-ahr," try to swallow the R) is one family in the category of tea known as "heicha,"...

BTB: Modern Pro-TEA-theus July 20 2020

For those new to our blends, welcome! Our themed teas are mostly developed from CEO Friday Elliott's neurological superpower, lexical-gustatory synesthesia. These BTB (behind the blend) posts serve as a dissection of Friday's process and experience. 

Today, however, we are examining one of our blends NOT developed by Friday. This tea was created by our shop teen, Teacup, also a polysynesthete. We...

10 Common Tea Myths July 18 2020

When it comes to tea, there's a whole world of information floating around out there. Agriculture is a complicated realm and tea in particular has been spread, traded, cultivated, spliced and specialized into about a million versions of its original self. With thousands of years of culture and evolution, information about tea can feel like a game of telephone.

Here are ten of the most common...

Behind the Blend: Writer's Fuel May 07 2020

For those new to our blends, welcome! Our themed teas are mostly developed from CEO Friday Elliott's neurological superpower, lexical-gustatory synesthesia. These BTB (behind the blend) posts serve as a dissection of Friday's process and experience.

Caffeine jolt with a leather body and smoke underbelly

You know that energy dip that hits about 70% through a writing session? The total drop in...

Whole Wheat Chai Snickerdoodles April 11 2020

 Teacup and I were chatting the other day about fun cookie recipe ideas for masala chai, and our dear friend Hannah said "oh, like chai snickerdoodles?"

Um...YES! Such a fun twist on a classic American favorite. Their chewy texture, eggy richness and cinnamon coating has earned them a high ranking in the cookie hall of fame. Honestly though? While I get the appeal, I've always felt snicks were...

American-Grown Caffeine April 10 2020

Yerba mate, Yaupon holly, guayusa

When you think of a shot of caffeine, that morning jolt, that buzz in the veins, what association do you make? Espresso? Matcha? Tea, Earl Grey, hot? Probably not holly!

It’s true through, the holly family has produced some super tasty rocket fuel level caffeine. We’re talking specifically ilex paraguariensis, ilex guayusa and ilex vomitoria, each native to one of the Americas. Each of these holly...

Matcha Ricotta Cheesecake with Persimmon Glaze (2 recipes in one post!) March 23 2020

In the springtime I am inexorably drawn to steamed green teas. Genmaicha, matcha, sencha, bi lo chun, clouds & mist, and so on. If it's vegetal, mildly seaweedy and light-savory with a lingering umami profile, count me in!

Just the other day, a friend mentioned the idea of matcha cheesecake in passing. I don't even remember the context, just that the idea seeded itself like the marigold and snap...

10 Fairy Tale Motifs And Their Synesthetic Flavor Counterparts February 28 2020

If you've read many blog posts here, you probably already know my superpower: I taste ideas.

While I generally apply these thought-flavors to tea blends representing a specific character, place, or even as dialed in as a single word, I also experience themes and abstract concepts as rich, complex flavor profiles. A calendar recently told me that "National Tell a Fairy Tale Day" falls on February...

Recipe: Creamy Chai-tini February 25 2020

March in Seattle heralds the last gasp of winter. While I'm as eager as the next Californian transplant to return to the sunshine and flowers of spring, I'm not above finding an excuse to enjoy decadent, spicy, rich, silky winter flavors. For a super quick and easy "treat yo'self" moment, check out this creamy chai-tini. Tea and booze lovers delight!

Note: If alcohol isn't your thing, replace the...