Now, I've never actually been to a Teavana. Certainly I've read a lot about these shops and know what to expect. I rationalize stopping for tea on the grounds that well, I have a tea blog and this would be informational. Another justification is to see what the hype is all about, the hue and cry anyway. Never mind that I might blow my blood pressure test, and a Sephora shop looms close to the Teavana location which is yet another slippery slope of addiction. The final rationalization and the best one of all is I'm gonna be dead soon enough anyway, so drink all the tea I can right now. That particular thought always works when staring at tea cakes online. Another mile on the Beltline and no way am I not stopping, crazy old tea drunk.
The shop is surprisingly small, for some reason I expected a bigger place like a coffee shop with tables and so on. Get in, get out, buy that tea as quick as you can. The shop girl helped me with my late mother's IPhone so I could take a photo of the tea canister wall to prove I was actually there. I know there's something wrong with me when my elderly mother had a better phone than I've got and knew how to use it. I'm still in the clamshell flip phone universe. Okay, let's see if I can get this photo to show up on here:
|Tea or paint cans?|
The girl shows me a Yunnan gold tips black tea of some sort. Looks dirty in the can, the thing would really need a good rinse.
"Okay, have you got any sejak?" my next request. "Korean," when I got a blank look in return. They have a Jeju Island green tea, the manager taking me over now because I am clearly going to be a tough customer. Even though I use a tea word she doesn't know, she needs to explain that a Korean tea is "between a China tea and a Japan tea."
"Does it have that marine, salty sea air on the first steep?" I ask. Actually I love me a Korean sejak with a minerally salt taste, crave the stuff, but I can't seem to find any to order lately that I'm certain will have that saltiness. No, the tea has a citrusy flavor, the manager says. She shows me a gyokuro instead.
"No thanks, I don't care for the spinach-y flavor," which causes the brewing girl to laugh. Looking over the canister wall, the rest of the teas seem to be flavored things which don't interest me much. Clearly the choice boils down to whether I want cold feet (green tea) or warm feet (the aged Yunnan).
"All right, I'll take the aged Yunnan black," I say while looking at the Famous Brown Rock Sugar, scary looking stuff. I've heard it's good but it looks dusty in the jars.
"I'm guessing you don't want sugar or milk," the brewing girl says, the one who helped me with the IPhone. "You guess right." Smart girl, knows her tea drunks from the casuals. "Straight up" and "neat" would be the way to put it.
So I painfully watch the long, long, long brew of a tea that is meant to be gong-fu brewed. Noting the shop has no gong fu supplies whatsoever, the closest thing being a covered cup with an infuser. That tea really needs rinsing, the question now burning in my brain, Are you Really Going to Drink That?
Whiff of the steam seems a bit fishy, and the tea brew is reddish like a shou. I don't dare open the lid and peek in, for I saw the cloudy tea well enough during the steep. Don't even want to sip it, maybe let it cool a bit. Fortunately the whole process takes long enough that now I don't have time to go into Sephora. Console myself with the thought that I can always order from them online and I really don't need to torture myself with Koh Gen Do just today. Besides I'm gonna be late for the doctor.
Barely make it in time for a quick pee. I start drinking the tea while awaiting my flu shot. It tastes like, Lipton. Something has been added to this, like a weird sweet taste. Maybe it's residue from a previous brew. It tastes like the mall. Actually it tastes like rubber Band-aids, adhesive strips used to cover small skin cuts. Well, I didn't expect to like the tea, it's the experience of it and crazy behavior on my part to have paid $3 and change for the cup. Suffer and offer it up for the sake of the blog.
Drinking the tea raises my heart rate about 6 beats per minute, but my blood pressure is just fine. Which is good considering all the drugs I take for it and even better knowing how much tea I consume in a day that I'm not telling the doctor about. Turns out she's been called up for federal jury duty so that's on her mind instead of asking me pertinent health questions that could expose my bad habits. My cholesterol levels have not lowered one iota. So much for puerh's cholesterol lowering properties.
Satisfied now that the only reason to drink tea is to get as drunk and silly as possible, I get back in the car and head home. Tea cakes, here I come.
Requiescat in Pace.