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A Quaint Little Tea Shop In Danbury, Connecticut

sing in danbury connecticutOn a recent visit to Danbury Connecticut, I went to several cafés to get some work done. Most were nice, but I don’t generally drink coffee, only tea, and the tea they had was not great. They were just using teabags and putting it in hot water. Considering that, the price of almost 5 dollars was way too high.

On my last day, though, I found an actual tea shop. It was not just a tea shop but also a tea store. They sold actual loose leaf tea and they had a lot of seating areas where you could order some of that tea freshly made.

They also served snacks, mostly cakes and other baked goods. It reminded me a lot of some tea shops you see in Asia, in terms of selection of teas and some of the cafés in Europe, in terms of the baked goods. It didn’t quite match up to any of those, but it was quite good for the US, especially for a small town.

I do not remember where this tea shop was located exactly, but it was somewhere near the downtown area. There was a bookstore nearby. As for the tea selection, they had at all. The even had yellow tea, which is rare to find outside of China. Naturally, they had green tea and black tea, as well as oolong tea, white tea and two different pu-erh teas.

Of course, they also had various herbal teas and flavored teas. I’m not a big fan of those, but a lot of people like them. And, yes, I know that herbal teas are not really tea, they are tisanes, but they were calling them tea in the store, so I’m going to use the same word here.

They basically had everything, except for tea that was grown indoors under grow lights. Remember, I mentioned that in a recent post. But that’s not something I’ve ever seen in a tea store anyway, so you can’t fault them for not having indoor-grown tea.

tea shop pastries
Baked goods in a tea shop

The quality of the tea was pretty good. It’s the kind of stuff you would buy at a Walmart in China, so it’s basically some of the lower quality teas you would get in Asia, but for the West that actually puts it in the upper range of quality.

You will not find many exceptional quality teas in the US, especially in a small town like Danbury. Therefore I have to say I was quite pleased with the tea quality. I enjoyed my cup and I actually had several more after that one.

I tried a nice Big Red Robe oolong tea, which was served in an infuser mug. That’s not quite a gaiwan, but it’s as close as you can get. I thought it was pretty cool. The green tea in the black tea were served in regular cups. I did not try any other types of tea. 3 cups was enough for me.

I was definitely surprised to find this little tea shop on my trip through Connecticut, and you can believe that I will be back next time I’m in town. In fact, the shop had quite a lot of space indoors, so it might make a good meeting point for the Danbury Hibernians, although they already have a meeting spot they’ve used for a long time, so I doubt they would want to switch. It’s just what I would want, because I love tea so much. So, if you’re ever in Danbury, make sure to check out the tea shop. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did.

T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights: Perfect For Growing Tea

We’ve briefly touched on growing your own tea at home before on this site, but I’d like to talk about it a bit more. In fact, I’m not going to talk about just growing tea but about growing any similar plant indoors. What I mean by similar plant, is a plant that does not flower.

The reason this is important is that flowering plants grow most efficiently with a different kind of light than plants that don’t flower. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They grow the same, but when it comes time to flowering, the light they need changes.

tea garden
A tea plantation

Basically, for growing they need a light that is more heavy in bluish colors. When it comes time to flower, they do so more efficiently with light that is more reddish. In nature, this happens automatically as the seasons change, but when you are growing at home you have to make up for this difference in light by using different types of grow light bulbs.

Now I should note that it is possible to just use one type for both the growth stage and the flowering stage, but it is more efficient to use different lights. You’ll see better results.

But since we are not talking about flowering plants today, we don’t need to worry about this. We’re talking about plants that only need the bluish type of light for growth. So let’s talk about those lights.

The cheapest flights and the easiest to run are fluorescent lights. Specifically, T5 fluorescent grow tubes, like the Agrobrite tubes and fixtures reviewed here, are perfect for growing plants. These are the ones you want to use for an herb garden or if you’re growing lettuce, etc. Any types of plants that don’t need to flower, basically.

Agrobrite T5 fluorescent plant light
The T5 fluorescent light fixture from Hydrofarm

Since tea is one of those plants, it stands to reason that T5 fluorescent grow lights will work great for tea. The other alternatives are other lights that also give off blue light, like metal halide bulbs and LED grow lights using specific color spectra. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Metal halide lights are much more powerful than fluorescent lights and will give you better results, but they cost more to buy, they cost more to run and they give off much more heat. They cost more to run because they use more electricity and also because you have to cool your room to dissipate the heat they give off. If you don’t, it could harm your plants. This leads to much higher electricity costs.

As for LED plant lights, they use far less electricity than fluorescent lights or metal halide lights and they also give off less heat. This sounds great, but the drawback is the price. They are much more expensive than the other types of lights and really only make sense if you’re a commercial grower.

If you’re just growing a little bit of tea at home or you have your own little herb garden, I would definitely recommend T5 fluorescent plant lights. They are simply the most efficient and the easiest to use.

You can buy these lights anywhere, but Amazon might be the best choice, if you’re buying them online. Most people have an account there already and they have some of the best prices and a large selection. Alternatively, you can find fluorescent lights at your local hardware store. They are really easy to find, basically.

So there you have it. If you feel like you might want to try growing your own tea, get yourself some T5 light bulbs. The same is true if you want to grow your own herbs at home. And I know this is probably more likely.

I have yet to meet anyone else who has the same idea of growing their own tea. I don’t know why I’ve become so obsessed with that, but ever since reading about the Japanese farmer was doing it, I just really want to do it myself. I guess I just love tea and I’ve always been interested in gardening too. It just makes sense, doesn’t it?