swankie tea

steepin' and preachin'

Tea Haul Tuesday #2



Capital Teas

Mosaic Location:

2910 District Ave., Suite #168

Fairfax, VA 22031

Tea Samplers:

Signature Blends

  • Annapolis
  • Chesapeake Sunrise
  • Sailor’s Delight


  • Glenburn Darjeeling STGFOP1
  • Madame Butterfly Jasmine
  • Milk Oolong

Tea Maker:

Cha Cult Magic II



Stay Steepy!




Steeping. Have you been doing it wrong?

I know from personal experience that as I’ve grown up to love tea that there are things you do and you don’t do with tea. This is coming from a person that as you know started with instant brands and is now working with actual tea leaves. These are my dos and do nots. I think it’s easier to bullet point these thoughts. I may or may not leave something out, so don’t get all textbook on me. Leave it in the comments and I thank you for your added knowledge and opinions.

  • Do not bounce your tea bag up and down when steeping
  • Do let your tea bag sit in water without being disturbed during steeping
  • Do not leave your tea bag in the water while you drink (you will have inconsistent flavor)
  • Do try different amounts of steeping to test flavor
  • Do not pour boiling water on tea leaves (higher quality green and white leaves, the less resistance they will have to hot water. Scalding leaves will destroy taste and aroma.)
  • Do taste your tea before assuming you need milk, sugar or honey


Just a few things!


Stay Steepy!


Capital Teas Experience


Written 8/14kku

OMG! I think I’ve finally calmed down for my visit to Capital Teas’ this morning. No, I take that back as I think about it now, I’m still just as excited.

This morning started like any other. I was still in bed thinking about getting up to start the water for my morning tea. I had been doing some tea research before bed about Lapsang Souchong tea. My mind has been playing with different ideas for smoking tea. So, this morning I thought wouldn’t it be nice to have some Lapsang Souchong, so I can put my mind to rest about what a smokey tea really tastes like.

Well,  I googled and found that Twinnings has a instant Lapsang Souchong. I set out on the road to find it. I went to Safeway, Whole Foods, Shoppers, no luck. Then, I thought to myself, let me go online and look for a tea shop because TEA IS WHAT THEY DO. DUH! I found Capital Tea which the closest one to me is located in the Mosaic District. Beautiful little shopping area, if you’re ever in Northern Virgina.

I was very nervous to go into Capital Teas I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received. I’ve been doing my research on tea houses and there’s so many rules and if you aren’t a connoisseur sometimes they won’t allow you to have certain teas. I was nervous that I would say Lapsang wrong or they’d tell me I wasn’t ready to try it or aliens would come down from space. (Basically, I was getting carried away with reasons to be nervous)

WHY WAS I SO NERVOUS! I went into Capital Teas and Kate was there. No, Kate isn’t the head of the company or anything, but I feel like she’s a friend now. I don’t want to call her Kate, the brewer or Kate, the Capital Tea employee. KATE IS THE BEST! KATE IS AWESOME! (But Kate is leaving. This is her last week. I’m sad that I’m beginning this journey and I made my first tea store friend, but this is her last week.)

I told Kate that I wanted the Lapsang Souchong and she brewed me a cup. I got strong, so I could really have all that smokey flavor. Then, we began talking about tea kettles, tea books, tea infusers, etc. She basically took me around the WHOLE store and explained the best products for certain things and ways to have the tea. I was learning so much for Kate. The more she told me, the more excited I was about tea. I know she felt that she was just talking my ear off ( she said that) but it was sooooo much information that I really needed. 

I was also introduce to a local honey by Waxing Kara. I learned that having local honey helps with allergies. This makes sense as bees would be around local allergens and pollens to make the honey. I bought a honey lollipop and I thought about dunking it with my tea, but I wanted to experience them separate first. SUCH GOOD HONEY! If you need some honey, I would definitely find a way to buy this honey, so yummy.

BACK TO TEA! It’s nice to talk to someone that loves tea as well. I just felt like I could sit there all day and talk to her about tea and drink tea. It was such a great experience. I’m sure with a tea shop they want their workers to be knowledgeable and make you feel welcome which sometimes can be forced, but this felt so different. It was a perfect experience for me.

As  I drove home, I was so excited about my tea journey. Even more excited than I had been before which I thought I was excited about tea before, but this really woke me up. (Maybe it was the Lapsang Souchong haha) Of course, I had to call my mother whom I had been blowing up her phone this morning because I needed her help to find this tea. I had her tell me how to pronounce the name of the tea an estimated half a billion times.

Update: 8/15

I went back today because I HAD to buy a Magic tea maker (video for that coming soon). I also purchased a signature sample tea set. Cannot wait to try all the teas in that. It was another great experience at Capital Tea. I got a cup of Milk Oolong because I wanted to see what the milk was all about. I learned that the milk in Milk Oolong comes from the location the plant is grown in and because of the temperature change that happens there. The result is the milk flavor which is totally cool! It’s such a smooth, light tea. I will be headed back to Capital Teas tomorrow for Kate’s last day.

I will be making a video for the Magic tea maker as well as all the teas in the sampler.

Stay Steepy!


What The HECK is TEA?

As a person that is always telling people that I love tea, I’m a bit embarrassed right about now. See the thing about it was that I was buying the tea from the store. The instant tea, that comes in all these flavors and assortments. I was thinking I was some kind of guru because I had tasted all these different kinds of tea. Which is another reason why when I started this thought of exploring tea, I thought there is no way in the world I will ever finish tasting just the teas they sell at the grocery store.

I realized now that most of the teas in the grocery store are HERBAL teas. Let me tell you how I came to realize this.

I’m currently reading, Tea: History Terroirs Varieties (second edition) by The Camellia Sinensis Tea House. They explained that there are 200 species of Camellia theaceae, but only one is used to make tea. Camellia sinensis is the only species used to make tea and it has three main varieties. At this moment, I’m like there’s only three varieties of this plant and I’ve got over 20 boxes of different flavors of tea in my kitchen, how can this be possible.

I continued to read about tea families.( I will be making another post on the difference in these teas) White tea, Green tea, Yellow tea, Wulong or Oolong tea, Black tea, and Pu Er Style teas, but there’s no mention of herbal teas.

I decide to Google “herbal tea.” Herbal tea is tea made with HERBS which sometimes contains actual tea, but is based from HERBS. HERBS.

Now, I’m trying to be optimistic that I still know a thing or two about tea, but my mind is like girl, this is a new territory. I’m going back and forth whether or not I should check my tea boxes or not. I don’t know if I want to know that I’ve been thinking wrong about tea. Then, I’m thinking to myself I can’t get on here and blog that I knew teas when it hasn’t even been TEA TEA. 

I rushed to the kitchen picked up one of my favorite Celestial Seasoning teas and right there on the label it said HERBAL TEA. I wasn’t sure whether to throw everything out or switch my studies to herbal tea.

I had to speak to my mother. I said, “Meme, I’ve been living a lie. I don’t even drink tea, I drink HERBAL tea. What the heck is TEA? Do I even know what tea is? Have I ever had tea?” She just laughed at me.

I’m here to find out what tea is. I’m here to explore tea. I’m here to explore tea away from the instant brands and go to the leaves which they come from. I’m not going to throw my herbal teas away and I’m not going to stop talking about them. There will be reviews on herbal teas, but I now know that there’s a difference.


Stay Steepy!


Tea Haul Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I will be posting a new video as a recap of all the things that I’ve blogged about and learned about in the previous week about tea. This week, I’m only introducing you to what is to come for next week!




Stay Steepy!



Everyone needs an introduction.

I’m Ellie Grace of Swankie Tea. I’m a 22 year old lover of tea and everything that goes along with tea. I believe that tea is an elegant drink. I believe everything from steeping, smelling the aromas, picking out tea leaves, it is all part of the elegant and beautiful thing that goes into making and enjoying tea.

I’m going to start by saying that I know nothing about tea. I’ve had a lot of tea in my life, but seriously there’s so much that I haven’t done with tea before. All this tea I drink from the grocery store is not what tea is all about.

I’m inspired by chefs and farmers that take what the land gives them to make something delicious and healing. I would love to make my own tea one day. Of course, before that day I need to know a thing or two about ACTUAL tea, none of this instant crap.. (it’s not all crap, but it’s not TEA, tea.)

Here on this blog:

I will be exploring tea. Figuring out what pots to use, how to pick leaves, steeping teas, reviewing teas, reviewing spice and tea stores, making foods that compliment teas, and coming one step closer to maybe having my own tea.

As of right now you can look for a tea blog, every other day. Every Tuesday on my youtube channel. I will recap things that I have learned in the past week and teas that I enjoyed.

Stay steepy!


Also, I’ve always dreamed of getting a teacup tattoo on my pinky. I might do that once I hit 1K.

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