Reading tea leaves (with pinkies up, of course)

10 Dec, 2013

by Molly Snyder

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Sometimes, as a female, I’m amazed by my lack of stereotypically-female experiences.

The Pfister Hotel, however, is helping me fill in some of my traditional lady blind spots. For example, this summer, I got my first manicure in the spa, and a couple of weeks ago, I went to my very first tea. I even wore a dress.

Although I’m not usually a fancy gal and will usually pick tacos on paper plates over prime rib on China, the Pfister’s tea was a really fun, comfortable and delicious experience.

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The event takes place on the 23rd floor in the new Club Lounge and the panoramic view of the city is a treat in and of itself. I have always really enjoyed seeing the lake and Downtown Milwaukee from Blu and it’s a slightly different but equally as stunning sight from the lounge.

I also really appreciated the information about tea provided by the tea butler. (Actually, come to think of it, I enjoyed learning the term “tea butler.” I never knew such a job or phrase existed.) The tea opens with the aforementioned butler introducing 12 different teas, passing them around in small jars for our whiffing pleasure and then asking us to choose our leaves of choice.

The teas come from Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea, and include cinnamon plum, tangerine ginger, vanilla bean and chocolate chai, among others.

I picked the Pfister 1893 white tea rose mélange, which was created exclusively for the hotel’s guests. It was presented in a personal, full-sized silver teapot.

For me, finger foods usually mean tortilla chips, but the finger-foody snacks at afternoon tea were way more tasty and adorable. I loved the tiny pinched pie crusts and coin-sized cakes and square sandwiches just a wee larger than the postage stamps on a love letter.

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Actually, I could have written a love letter to the entire experience, but I did something else instead.

After I drank my entire pot of tea I was left with a few stray leaves scattered on the bottom of my cup. I know a little bit about reading tarot cards, but nothing about reading tea leaves. I didn’t let that stop me. I squinted my eyes a little bit and peered into the porcelain cup.

I saw a New Year that was full of abundance and health and opportunity. I saw clarity and kindness and resolve. I saw peace and forgiveness. I saw you, smiling. I saw you, nodding. I saw you, reaching.

At least, these are the things I *wanted* to see in my tea cup. And like the things I want to see in the world, they are there if you squint your eyes, just a little bit, and look for them.

Afternoon tea is held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, Nov. 1, 2013 March 30, 2014, with seatings at 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. Reservations are required; call (414) 935-5942 or (877) 704-5340.

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About the author

Molly Snyder

Molly Snyder has lived in Milwaukee her entire life. She started keeping a diary when she was four and published her first poem at age 10 called “The Unicorn” in the now-defunct Shorewood Herald. Today, she writes less about mythical creatures and more about Milwaukee people and places. She is a senior writer at OnMilwaukee.com, where she has worked for the last 12 years. Telling people’s stories is her passion.

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