I first met Charlene Wang from Tranquil Tuesdays during one of her many trips to Boston from Beijing (as a Boston native and Wellesley College alumna, Charlene tends to be in Boston quite a bit). Charlene came into the shop and introduced herself as the founder of Tranquil Tuesdays tea company, a company that specializes in sourcing tea from small, family-owned farms in China. Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect!
After taking over the buying responsibilities for the tea department at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, I really wanted to focus our selection on extremely high-quality, single estate teas. Having our tea selection match the philosophy of the shop (sourcing from the highest quality, small producers in the world) is very important to me and finding these producers had become my first priority. When Charlene shared her philosophy with me, I suspected we would be well-matched:
“As the founder of Tranquil Tuesdays tea company, I travel all around rural China, personally sourcing tea from small, family-owned farms to showcase the unique and diverse flavors of China’s finest pure teas. I knew that Formaggio Kitchen would be a great fit for Tranquil Tuesdays, because we share the same ethos regarding food that tells specific stories about places and provenances that spotlight small-scale producers.”
Tranquil Tuesdays has an extremely small selection of tea – only 7 different offerings. Charlene personally selects the highest quality Chinese teas, including white tea, oolong, green tea and black tea. What is wonderful about her selections is that she has found producers who rely on ancient, artisan methods of tea production. For example, the Mao Jian green tea (a personal favorite for iced tea) is still pan-fired by hand in small batches over an open fire, a method that requires extreme expertise and precision. When it is performed properly, the result is a delicate tea that retains the clean, natural qualities of the leaf.
I have had such a wonderful time working my way through the selection of tea from Tranquil Tuesdays. Each tea is distinct, unique and a beautiful representation of the region it comes from. With such consistency of quality in her selection, it is clear that Charlene not only knows the qualities of a beautiful tea, but that she has developed wonderful relationships with the tea growers and producers. It is these relationships that foster the growth of artisanal food and the reason why I am so excited to be adding Tranquil Tuesdays to our selection.
Special note: Tranquil Tuesdays is extremely small-scale and Formaggio Kitchen is the only store in New England that currently carries their selection. To learn more about Charlene and her travels to the tea gardens, click here to sign up for her excellent newsletter.
Julia Hallman wears many hats at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge – among them are cheesemonger, classroom instructor and tea buyer.