Tea and Murals. The Love Wall
If you’re new here (welcome!), tea and murals might sound like a far-fetched duo to you. Well, let me explain. Pairing tea and murals is my quirky way of combining two passions in a mindful way and a good “excuse” (as if you needed one!) to explore neighborhoods through tea and art. I’ve been asked what the tea scene in LA is like. Right this way, ladies and gentlemen! I enjoyed the mural, I drank the tea and I’m showing you where to go in one of my favorite LA neighborhoods (oh, hello Culver City) if you want to do the same.
The Tea: The Essence of Tea 1970 SSHC Liu Bao
Mike (The Tea Letter) gifted this tea to me a while ago. I finally got to try it. At first, it left me perplexed. Post-fermented tea (shou puerh and heicha) is not my favorite tea type, meaning that I don’t reach for it often. Liu Bao is a type of heicha (dark tea, traditionally from Guangxi Province) I was not very familiar with. The tea leaves (after a quick rinse) and the brewed liquor punched me in the face with menthol and the smell of earth after a summer rainstorm. On the palate it was equally bold and unapologetic. Medicinal, earthy, a little astringent, tannic (that unmistakable tactile sensation on the tongue). Black licorice with a hint of aniseed sweetness. By the second steep, it started growing on me, like a song you hear on the radio and you don’t care for at first. Then you listen to it again and you can't get it out of your head. The second steep drew out a lot of sweetness from the leaves, while still being menthol-forward and earthy.
This tea pairs well with The Love Wall mural in Culver City, Los Angeles and a hot summer day. It’s a misconception that you can’t drink hot tea in hot weather. Apparently, it’s even more cooling than iced! But I’ll leave that to your personal preference. What better way than this mural to declare my love to my favorite beverage? I love how bold it is, exactly like this tea!
Where to drink tea and what to see / do in Culver City
The Love Wall (aka The Red Love Wall) by Curtis Kulig. 8538 Hayden Ave, Culver City, CA 90232
Destroyer. This daytime cafe, described as “futuristic” and “esoteric” by the press serves a selection of San Francisco-based Song Tea in handcrafted teaware by nearby Match Stoneware. The food and pastries are all amazing. (3578 Hayden Ave, Culver City, CA 90232)
Bar Nine. Independent coffee roastery and cafe, they have a nice selection of loose leaf tea, including a high mountain oolong (served hot or iced) and soba cha (Japanese roasted buckwheat tea). Try their housemade hazelnut milk and well, of course their coffee (if that’s your thing! I am a coffee drinker too). (3515 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA, 90232)
Lukshon. Asian-inspired restaurant with an amazing tea menu by San Francisco-based Red Blossom Tea. At the very top of their dinner menu, on the same page as the food courses, there’s a whole section of single origin teas. When I first discovered it, I was so excited I almost fell off my chair. The food is to die for. Do not miss it for the world. (3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232)
Culver City Steps. Super-hyped workout spot. It’s hard but it’s well worth the view from the top (Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook), even at night. Perfect to work up an appetite. (6300 Hetzler Rd, Culver City, CA 90232)
Super Domestic Coffee. Teeny-tiny coffee shop with a cycling theme. Try their matcha latte with oat milk (unsweetened for me, please). You can choose between two different single-origin matcha with different flavor profiles. Locally made kombucha and cold brew teas (black, green and herbal) available too. (10054 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232)
Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion. I did not receive any form of compensation to mention any product or service. I am not affiliated to any of the brands/businesses mentioned.