Shop Review: Mootz Run Tea Shop and Petali Teas

The Columbus tea scene is pretty limited (well, the commercial tea scene anyway) considering that we claim to be the cultural and foodie capitol of the Midwest. There are only one or two shops I am willing to stop by in Columbus on a regular basis, but I feel as though I am pretty well connected with the private Columbus tea scene. Imagine my surprise when I learned that almost no one has heard of Petali Teas or Mootz Run Tea Shop before. It’s a crime that no one in Columbus seems to know about it, but it’s not surprising at the same time.

  1. This shop is located in the middle of nowhere. The first time we drove up, I thought for sure that the barn in the middle of the corn fields was some elaborate scheme to murder people who obsessively search for tea in the Columbus area.
  2. Mootz Run Tea Shop sells Petali teas. What? Why not just call it Petali Tea Shop? They seem to be the same company as far as I can tell.
  3. The owner doesn’t seem to be that active on social media. I’ve seen a post or two on the Facebook group, but that’s not where the Columbus tea freaks hang. That’s really not even where most of the national teaple hang. They sell on Amazon, but they don’t seem to market to the cool internet teaple, like reddit and Steepster.
  4. The hours are atrocious–Friday and Saturday from 11 to 5. I get that it’s a small shop, so you have to weigh cost vs. customer traffic. But that leaves just 6 hours a week for a Columbus resident to visit, and there’s too much going on in Columbus on Saturdays to want to leave.

But for all the criticisms, this shop makes up for it in everything else. Driving up to the shop for the first time makes you wonder if you’re in the right place, but after the first time, it’s quite literally a breath of fresh air. The wind is blowing through the gentle slopes of grass, corn, or snow, depending on the season. The shop itself looks like it’s a converted barn next to a lovely Victorian house that I want to move into. There’s even a cat sitting by the garden gate for crying out loud.

Fat orange cat sighting!

It’s pretty obvious that the owner either knows a decorator or should have been one. The shop is stunningly beautiful. Light streams in through the many windows and bounces off the high, white ceilings. Looking at my pictures, they don’t really do the place justice. Someone is apparently a fan of plants and animals, which matches up so well with people who love tea. The leaves and vines mingle with the teaware in the bright sunlight and make me feel so warm and fuzzy. I wonder what a couple of cozy armchairs with some kettles for brewing tea would do to a place like that. It’s certainly a room I want to hang out in.

As I said before, there isn’t a huge tea scene in Columbus. If you want to buy a gaiwan or a nice steeper, you’re pretty much stuck with buying off the internet. I’ve gotten a yixing swan set and a nice elephant tea spoon here, which is pretty incredible considering many teashops in the US are English style. In fact, the shop seems to be well balanced between Indian, Asian, and English tea traditions, with English taking the lead because one must, of course, cater to customer preference. They also seem to have some unique sources for teaware, as I haven’t seen many of these on Ali or ebay.

And why not add a little activism to your tea? This shop is a big supporter of elephant approved teas and merchandise. These teas are grown on plantations that participate in reducing human-elephant conflict in India. Are you telling me that I can buy an elephant spoon AND support the conservation of elephants? Elephants are one of my favorite animals; sign me up!

I thought this tea bar to make your own creations was a really interesting touch. But since I am forever the introvert, I am too antisocial to ask how it works.

Okay, on to the teas! Price wise, things are weird. Teas are priced by volume instead of weight. This is great if you prefer the blends that contain heavy fillers, but it kind of sucks if you want something light, like the Hua Shan Yellow. It might just be a great way to price up teas they feel are more expensive. They certainly don’t skimp on the tin-filling, so no worries there. You have to be careful whenever you open a new tin, as the teas will spill out everywhere! Petali also offers discounts for returning customers that bring in their tins and punch cards. I feel their prices are pretty fair.

Petali definitely favors flavored blends. While I personally don’t care for the majority of flavored tea, I do have some favorites. Many of the teas in here I actually can’t stand the smell of, but I can’t fault them at all on personal tastes. However, each time I have been here, I have been able to walk away with 3-4 teas. They are usually dessert blends; my favorites have been Mexican Wedding Cookie, Maple Crème Brulée, and Brown Sugar Bread Pudding. Some of the blends that I’ve had are pretty light on the tea, heavy on flavor, off the wall, but still pretty good, like Choco Coco Toasted Oolong and Honey Polenta Oolong. You can see here in my haul shot that I continued with the dessert theme. The Pumpkin smells scrumptious! Also, I thought the tin labels were a very nice touch.

The wall itself is very well organized, with separate, color coded sections for the different tea types, and different canisters for plain teas versus blends. All the information is printed on the front label, including ingredients, and you’re invited to take all the tins off the wall to sniff at your leisure.

The oolong section. Can we all take a moment to appreciate what a terrible photographer I can be?

From the looks of things, Petali tends to favor Indian for the plain teas (though I imagine they also use them for the blends a lot too). They have some Chinese oolongs, but the spotlight is on their unflavored Darjeelings. They do carry some Nepalese teas, which is pretty rare for a shop, and they also have some things that I’ve only seen “real teaple” get, like puerh stuffed in oranges and wrapped in bamboo!

But for all this innovation and creativity, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if this area were to experience a good Laoshan, Dianhong, or Ai Lao from China. What about a good Jin Xuan or Shan Lin Xi from Taiwan? A sencha or gyokuro from Japan? These, to me, are the best of the tea world, and it would be nice to see them in shops now and then. They don’t even really need flavoring, but imagine what fantastic bases they would make!

Since many of my readers (all one or two of you) aren’t in the Columbus area, you can see some, but not all, of the teas made in this beautiful little shop in the middle of nowhere on Amazon. Another silly thing they do is separate their shops by merchandise type, so you may have to dig a bit.

Happy teaing!








Review: Rice Ripened Loose Pu-erh Pyramid Tea Bag

It’s a bright green, sweltering morning, the kind that can only dawn after a summer torrent the night before. It’s been a difficult summer for your Cocker Spaniel, Sparky, since he got a yeast infection on his feet last week, so you want to treat him to a nice walk in the woods behind your house.

Now, you might have a different dog with a different name in your fantasy. I don’t even particularly like Cocker Spaniels, at least American Cockers, but there’s a specific reason why I’ve chosen this particular dog.

It was a pretty violent storm last night, and the trail behind your house is soaked and covered in little pieces of dark, wet bark. You explore the trails for about two hours and head home just as Sparky is beginning to tire and the sun is beginning to grow unbearably hot.

You bring Sparky into the mudroom, and you can smell his yeasty feet all the way from his position on the grimy tiles. You crouch down on the ground and pick up his front paw, separating his pads so you can see through the matted hair clumps between his toes to the villi-like growths on the foot leather. You lean in, ignoring the overwhelming cloud of wet corn chip scent that envelopes your face and shoves its way down your nostrils. You stick out your tongue and gently lick Sparky’s yeasty, wet foot pad, much to his bewilderment.

Teavivre Rice Puerh

That’s what this tea tasted like. After a good 15 second rinse, I brewed this bag for about 5 minutes in boiling water. Honestly, I think the recommended 9-12 minutes’ steeping time is overkill; it’s not as though I am going to impart some new exciting flavor in that extra 5 to 8 minutes.

I think it was the rice that made that yeasty, corn chippy scent and flavor. I could kind of see how the smell was related to rice, but it just tended toward the side of dog feet smell. Even my coworker, sitting three feet away from me, commented on how this tea smelled like dog feet. It tasted much like it smelled: heavy on the ricey, yeasty flavor, but add in some wet wood flavor and just a hint of fishbone from the shou.

And yet, despite this disgusting description, I still drank the entire cup. I’m not sure what this says about me and my palate. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this tea, but it was a certain sort of experience.


Liquid Proust Feature–Happy Birthday LP!

Liquid Proust Teas came out with a couple of new blends, and since I want to try them, I need to sip through what I have of LPT’s blends to decide what I want to reorder. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to kick off the tea reviews on this new blog, especially since today (the drinking day, not the posting day, is Andrew’s birthday). So here it is:

Liquid Proust Teas Sipthrough

Disclaimer: I happen to know the owner and blender behind Liquid Proust Teas. Personally, I think this gives me a better insight into the blends, as I know the hyperactive, inappropriate, generous, and passionate soul behind the tea. Some might think that my reviews would be biased as a result, but I will be drinking these and will review them honestly; you’ll know what I liked and what I didn’t.

So, the thing about Andrew is that he chooses the best ingredients for what he wants to make. I don’t know where he gets the ideas for his creations, but if he wants to do a black tea blend, he finds the best, highest quality black tea possible to meet his vision. If he wants to use an ingredient, he experiments with the best way to integrate the ingredient.

This makes it nice, because I don’t have to wonder whether or not I am drinking some old stuff sourced from any old wholesaler. I can concentrate on whether or not the blend succeeded and if I liked it. Since Andrew and I have very different palates, he doesn’t always succeed with me personally, but it IS always an experience.

Earl Pink

Earl Pink

I got this as a sample, which is the only way I would have encountered this tea. I hate Earl Grey; the bergamot usually tastes “dirty” to me, and as a former Florida girl, I can’t stand citrus scents and flavors. The tea base is usually nothing special to me, so with all those downsides, why bother?

I should have bothered.

The tea itself is beautiful, with cocoa-colored curls of leaves and bright pink petals. It’s an interesting choice, as the bougainvillea-colored petals combined with the creamsicle aroma of the blend suggests a tropical experience is to come. It clashes a bit with my mental picture of what an Earl Grey should be, which features me dressed in a lace hat holding a porcelain teacup and saucer with my pinky in the air.

Once brewed, the liquid has a honey smell that comes out strongly in the flavor. The base tea is sweet and vibrant with honey and floral overtones. I’m not sure if the floral flavor comes from the flower petals or the base, but it’s light and not soapy at all (which is how I typically tend to perceive florals). The bergamot is fresh tasting and bright. It may be a little on the light side for some people, since I didn’t consider it too much. And believe me, I was looking out for it.

The bergamot does get too powerful as the tea cools, however. It’s like I squeezed a full lemon into the cup.


I enjoyed this tea a lot, and I’ll definitely be getting more. It was the perfect blend of fresh and bright, floral and fruity tasting. I discovered that I do like bergamot oil, if only whatever fancy and difficult-to-find or whatever bergamot that Andrew managed to get for this tea.

Swann’s Way

Swann's Way

I don’t have any special insight into this tea, but based on the blend’s name and the longer description on the website, I get the impression that this blend is the “flagship” of Liquid Proust Teas.

The blend looks dark and delicious: crinkly black wads of sun moon lake, furry golden curls of bi luo chun, and giant pecan pieces candied in impossibly dark sugar. The sugar comes through in the aroma of the dry leaves, but I’m not sure where the scent of raisins comes from.

Once brewed, the tea has that smell of chocolatey, cinnamon bread that comes with most Yunnan black teas. Since this tea is supposed to be a reflection on love, I expected a lot of chocolate and fruity notes.

My first thought on the first sip was “WHOA, complicated.” There are a lot of layers to this tea, so this will probably be a long review. This is an introspective tea, something to spend a quiet afternoon on, thinking.

Swann's WayI like to call teas like this traveling teas—the teas whose different flavors light up the regions of the tongue as you swallow. The dark flavors are the ones that hit first, which are sweet potatoes and cocoa. Then the tea hits the middle of the tongue with brighter flavors, like sugary red fruits. I’m going to tell you now that I suck at identifying fruits in teas, so red is as close as you’re going to get. As the brew fades in the back of the mouth, there’s malt, a little bit of astringency, and a honey-like sweetness. I also got some vanilla caramel flavor.

Though I couldn’t find the nuts in the first brew, subsequent steeps yielded a sweet, creamy pecan flavor, while most of the chocolate and fruits fell away. I ended up steeping this three times at 208º, starting with 3 minutes and increasing by 30 seconds each time.


Is there such a thing as too complicated? With a list of everything I tasted in this tea, I would have expected to love this brew. But it’s a bit much. I’m not one of those people that can taste the runoff in the rain that fell on the crops that year, so the fact that I can taste so much in one tea is a bit overwhelming. I feel as though the separate flavors never really coalesced into a single entity, but rather continued to express themselves as separate entities.

Perhaps this tea is a story of lovers who never really found their center, never learned to mesh their lifestyles together? I’ve never read Proust.

A Dark Kitchen Sink

Milche is checking out the Dark Kitchen Sink.
Milche is checking out the Dark Kitchen Sink.

This tea looks like a leaf party—piney needles, crinkly balls, chocolatey shavings—leaves of all sorts. Let’s not even mention the pecans and chocolatey looking pieces. A Dark Kitchen Sink indeed!

I love smelling the leaves first; it’s like a preview of things to come, and it’s an integral part of the whole tea experience for me. But the smell of this blend has me a little concerned. Chocolate and marshmallow is what comes out first, and that’s kind of exciting. I’ve never had a marshmallowy tea before. The smell is sugary sweet. But there’s an earthy, vitaminy undertone that reminds me of Ovaltine…yuck. I’m pretty sure that smell is coming from the puerh needles, as I remember it from the Rummy Pu I had a few weeks back.

Once brewed, the earthy vitamin smell settled, and all I can smell is a spongy, earthy bread pudding. Good. We’re back on track for a really nice dessert tea.

I feel like this tea presented itself as a series of dessert flavors. What I got first was a strong brown bread flavor—the bitter earthy kind. There’s a figgy, rainsiny kind of flavor that lends sweetness to the entire mix. I also got dark chocolate, but the creaminess of the brew made it taste almost like a chocolate fudge topping. Sometimes I got marshmallows, which switched my mindset from bread pudding to s’mores. . .fun!

As it cools, the vanilla makes itself more well-known, and many of the other flavors drop away. Now I’m drinking a creamy vanilla pudding, but that fig-raisin flavor is still hanging around.


I really loved the experience of this tea, so much so that I think this is my favorite tea by Liquid Proust. It was like being swept away by sweet chocolatey, marshmallow, vanilla, fig dessert. The flavors buzzed over my tongue and left a cool wave in its wake.

I found this blend to be more cohesive than the last, which is ironic because the name implies that this blend was created by throwing all the leftovers in one jar and giving it a name. But the pairing of those chocolatey, toasty teas with the earthy puerh is absolutely heavenly.

I was wrong about this tea being a party; it’s a high school reunion, with all the teas and flavors of past blends I have tried making appearances like 90s movies clichés: the loudmouthed jock that is the puerh, the hyper feminine vanilla that was the head cheerleader stereotype, and the school nerd fig that grew up to be hot and successful.

I definitely will be getting more of this!!

Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha

Laoshan Genmaicha

Last of the LP teas! It’s been such a chocolatey, desserty kind of day for me. Opening up my little glass jar, I didn’t think it was possible to have a tea smell more like 70% dark chocolate. Yes, specifically 70%. I have a bar from Iceland sitting in my cupboard, and these two smell exactly the same. The leaves even looks like chocolate shavings, compounding the imagery. The rice clusters look pretty tasty…so much so that I kind of wish I had some fresh to taste.

Now that I’ve brewed it, the liquid smells like burnt chocolate pudding and yams, which sounds disgusting, but I am a fan of. I love overcooking chocolate pudding and eating the skin off it.

The brew actually tastes pretty simple. It’s sweet, with a strong flavor of sweet potatoes. These sweet potatoes have the skin on, as that earthy flavor is pretty strong. The cocoa comes up next with a sharp buzz on the finish. A sweet, very strong raisin flavor comes back up the palate after swallowing. I was surprised not to get any of the nuts or rice in the flavor.


I’m not sure how I felt about this one. I almost feel as though the modifications to the base tea didn’t make much of a difference. I haven’t had this specific base, but I have had several Yunnan blacks, and even some Laoshan. Each has had the same kind of yammy, sugary, chocolatey flavor all on its own.

I still enjoyed this though. It was comforting and so very raisiny. I might have to sit down with the plain base to really determine how I felt about this blend.