There’s something soothing about tea. Whether you’re drinking a delicate oolong, a robust black tea, or a grassy green, the time spent to stop and enjoy a cupful is also an opportunity to fully drink in the pleasure and peace of the moment.
Lisa Landry, tea importer and co-owner of No. Six Depot in West Stockbridge, says another benefit to sipping tea unhurriedly is that as it cools, more of its true character is revealed. To further maximize flavor, she recommends using loose leaf tea rather than leaves that have been compressed into bags. “Tea leaves need room to unfurl and expand as they steep,” Lisa says, “Loose tea makes a better cup of tea.”
No. Six Depot’s loose teas are sourced from around the world, traceable to the farm where they are grown. Lisa explains that geography and climate are factors that affect the tea’s taste. How and when the tea is picked, worked, and oxidized are also important considerations. Their Darjeeling tea, for example, is handpicked from an estate in the Himalayas, where it develops more slowly in the high altitude. This results in a tea that has a distinctive fuller flavor, body, and aroma that’s apparent in the first delicious sip.
The wide range of teas imported by No. Six Depot is expanding to include customized blends. Lisa says they’ve already done an herbal iced blend and are in the process of creating others. Watch also for herbal tisanes being developed that may incorporate ingredients grown right here in the Berkshires.
Located in the old train station in West Stockbridge, No. Six Depot is a café and gallery with a small shop in between that’s well-stocked with a selection of tasty Berkshire-made items such as honey, jams, buttery shortbread, Dan Bellow pottery, chocolate-covered Bola Granola bars, and baked goods from Berkshire Mountain Bakery and in the summer SoCo Creamery ice cream. Stock up on tea and goodies for yourself, or create a customized gift basket right from the shelves. You’ll also find No. Six Depot items on their website, at area farmers’ markets, Berkshire Grown events, and at local grocers and restaurants.
The creative and entrepreneurial spirit of No. Six Depot’s co-owners, Lisa and Flavio, is but one example of why this area is a top destination for food lovers. Come explore more, and get a taste of the Berkshires!
Nancy Macy is a freelance writer and editor based in the Berkshires.