Affinitea Redux

Okay, I’m a little miffed.The sad state of beverages in the restaurant is killing me. And now that I have had decent tea, I’m offended when I’m served less than what’s possible. I’ve tasted what’s available on the market, and I know what’s possible. Being served a cup of hot water with a tea bag, for $1.25 is not the best we can do.

I was invited out to taste test the products made by Affinitea after I posted an entry about an article I came across in the Seattle PI. I was greeted by the vice president, Michael DiMartino, and make no doubt about it, he was giving me his sales pitch. He wanted press. But I wanted tea. And I wanted to be careful about crossing an ethical line. I didn’t want to shill their product simply because they treated me royally.

That being said,I was very interested in the idea of tea coming from what is, at its core, an espresso machine. How good would it be? Tea has delicate flavors. Unlike espresso, which is an up front flavor with subtle undertones, tea is like a soak in a warm tub. The comfort comes from the entirity of the drink. How would tea hold up under the patented new process introduced by Affinitea?

After telling me a bit of the past and how Affinitea got its start, Michael pushed the new machine to its limits. We started with a pot of green tea and a glass of Earl Grey. Truth be told, they were not bad. The best word I could describe it with is “respectable”. But I say that only because I brew these varities at home and I know what they are supposed to taste like. Although I have had better, what I sampled of DiMartino’s Green Tea and Earl Grey was better than 99% of the teas sold at restaurants and coffee shops throughout Seattle.

But the real joy, the real surprise, came in the mixed drinks. You haven’t lived until you’ve had the spiciness of a freshly brewed chai latte topped with cardomon and cinnamon. And Michael introduced me to my new favorite drink, a hot Mint Green Tea Latte which tasted like an adult version of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

I had the caffeine jitters after all that tea. But that didn’t stop me from drinking a Grapefruit/Herbal Tea mix, an Iced Mango tea, and an Iced Mango Latte. It was wonderful. I was in tea heaven.

And then, the bad news. No place in Seattle currently has an Affinitea machine. If I wanted to get my hands on another Mint Green Tea Latte, I’d have to go to Sacramento to Java City. If I was in Florida,I could go to Barnie’s.

If you’re looking to have good and great tea while out and about, look for places that sell Affinitea. It’s worth it.