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Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald.
You may recognize the name JoJo Tea, the premium tea brand sprinkled across the hottest menus in town. Everyone from Eating House to Phuc Yea carry their complex leaves and creative libations. The knowledgeable duo of Michael Ortiz and Tico Aran – have singlehandedly brought tea appreciation to MIA and now they are taking it one step farther, with their own tasting room.
“We’re just trying to bring attention to the fact that tea has been around for 4,000 years, and we’re trying to make it not intimidating,” notes Aran.
How do they complete such a mission? By teaching an interactive sipping course in their doctor-office-turned-zen tasting den. Huddled around a table — with no more than eight people — guests taste their way through white, oolong, and green tea varieties (that are brewed to the perfect temperature), learning insight and history along the way. As Aran teaches, much like wine, tea must first be sniffed, then sipped: “You want to smell the tea until it penetrates your soul, then slurp it like a wine tasting.” Proper slurping technique (sound effects and all) is key to getting all of the flavor nuances.
Photo courtesy of @panthercoffee.
While no two tastings are alike, the progression is always the same. You’ll start with antioxidant-filled white tea, the youngest of the batch, and progress from there. After drinking and sipping your way through six to seven different tea varieties, you’ll choose your favorite for JoJo’s version of a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. This time, the focus will be on how the tea makes you feel – not how it tastes. And damn, does it make you feel good.
This Behind the Line is about JoJo Tea. Grab a seat.