I can't remember what I drank Sunday and Monday. I know I must have drank something though.
Tuesday I was really, really bored, so I went over and met with a friend at World Tea House. I had myself a cup of Caramalized Pear. Which is delicious, but not really pear-y. More apple-y. I thought maybe I was a little crazy until I read the ingredients: Rooibos tea, apple, marigolds, caramel, honey.
Can you say yum? It made me think a bit of apple pie, actually. I wonder how that would have tasted if I had stayed and steeped it a second time...
Yesterday, after meeting with a friend for lunch, I wandered down to DavidsTea. First of all, let me say that overall my experience was actually a good one. Smelling the different teas they had there, it looks like they've got some great blends available. The tea was good, my chair was crazy comfy, and the staff were very friendly. Though, while I was sitting there, drinking my cup of Mullberry Magic, something didn't seem quite right about the whole thing. I couldn't figure out why: The space was bright, open and inviting, the staff were happy to talk about tea, and did I mention my chair was comfy? It was very, very comfy.
I looked across and I realized that there were only two crazy comfy chairs, and two other tables that could seat three each (with not as comfy looking chairs), if those people didn't mind sitting very close to each other. Chances are each table would probably only be taken up by one person, since they were rather small.
And then it hit me.
This place isn't really designed for people to come and sit down and have a cup of tea, it's designed to sell whatever stuff they've got. The space is used to highlight the tea ware they have for sale, and to accomodate line-ups for the cash registers, not create a cozy space for people to spend time there. This isn't a bad thing, it's just not what I was looking for.
I mean, there were other little personal problems I had too: The man serving me, while very knowledgeable (and kinda cute too), overwhelmed me with the different teas he talked about. If I had an afternoon to sit and chat with the guy about tea, I think I would have enjoyed myself, but while trying to pick something to order it was a lot to take in. It might have been a bit easier if I had come in looking for a particular kind of tea, but since I like just about everything, that meant he could talk about just about everything...
The other thing I noticed was that a lot of the facts they had to share about the tea focused on how good it is for you. The website also has this sort of information on their teas. It's awesome to know this sort of stuff...but I personally don't drink tea because it's good for me. I drink it because I like tea. I like the ritual of preparing tea, of sitting down and enjoying the tea. I love tasting it. Sometimes I'll just sit and concentrate on how it tastes rather than gulping it down. How does it taste if I sip a little bit? If I sip a lot of it at once? How does it taste on the different parts of my tongue? Is it different if I re-steep it? If it's hot or cold? Oh, and I whenever my tea is in a transparent cup or pot I love to watch it steep--It's like watching a lava lamp, only I get to drink it afterward. I don't care if it will help me lower my blood sugar or not. For me, that's just a bonus. But hey, this probably isn't a universal thing, it could just be me.
It makes sense to know this sort of information--It's a great selling point. But the whole experience just reminded me of when I worked at Fruits & Passion: (great products, horrible management with no care for blatant discrimination issues, but that's another story...) I could give a bunch of facts about all of the products we had, the different fruit properties that were in them all and what they were good for, which ones had different vitamins, etc. I really did care about the products, really. I was excited to learn more about each product, and I was happy to share that knowledge. Looking back though, none of the extra selling points we were given were ever just "Because it smells good."
I think I would have liked a little bit of "Because it just tastes good." Just a little. Or at the very least, I would have liked it if the staff let me stop and think about whatever they had just said, and to stop and smell the tea at my own pace.
One other thing: No timers. Perhaps World Tea House spoils me, but I always have to cheat and use a timer. Especially if I'm talking with someone or doing something else. My ADD is always pretty good at making sure I forget about my tea (and just about anything else I should be doing, especially work...) so having an annoying beep to remind me about my tea really helps. If I don't have a timer, I use other things to roughly keep track of time: How long it takes me to walk somewhere, how many songs have passed on my ipod...Things like that. If I'm sitting down talking with someone else, I promise I will forget about my tea. It's a near guarantee.
Now, after all that blabbering on about the whole sitting-down-and-drinking experience, how was the tea itself?
It was ok the first time around. Very nutty. A little bit too nutty, I think, but I was told that before buying it, so I knew what I was getting into. Second steep, it was very good. A little sweeter, and the macadamia nuts weren't so overpowering. Definitely magical the second time around. Better when sipped a little bit at a time rather than a big sip.
I might not get that particular blend for myself, but I may go back and pick up something else. I'd probably see if I could get a tin and take it home.
Although, that chair was ridiculously comfy...
EDIT: K, I forgot two points about yesterday. First of all, I forgot to mention the samples when I went to DavidsTea. There were actually two different ones. I went in by myself, and I got a sample, then later when my friend came in we both got another sample. The first one, Countess of Seville was really good! (in fact, I think I should have just gotten a cup of that...) but the second one (which was brought over to us while we were sitting down--how nice!) their Sencha Pear was very, very bitter. :( I don't know if they just steeped that sample too long or if it's like that regularly.
After DavidsTea, I went to World Tea House. Mostly for a cupcake. I also had some good ol' Earl Grey while I was there. It was delicious and comforting. I drank it black because my
Yeah, I know it's kind of silly to go out for tea, then go out for more tea, but I had my mind set on eating that cupcake. It was sugary, sugary awesomeness.