16 June 2008

Not For All The Tea In China

As owner of Baltimore's favourite tea room, I harbored a pretty fantastic secret - I was, and still am, a total coffee maven. Even the prized Old Waverly tea, a secret blend concocted by me and the late Tom Thompson of the Coffee Mill, failed to hold my interest. The only tea I truly enjoy, even sometimes crave, is oolong. Twining's oolong. In the bag, if you must know. Been drinking it for decades.

So imagine my surprise when a search of Giant, Super Fresh, Eddie's Saint Paul, Eddie's Roland Park, and Whole Foods yielded none - and it was not merely out of stock, but eliminated from their product lines. Instead, their shelves are crowded with a jumble of black and green and (the newly sexy) red and white teas in pretty boxes, all pretty much tasting the same.

Black tea is fermented, green tea is not, and oolong is right in the middle. It's not accurate, however, to say the taste is an average of black and green. I liken it more to tea as liqueur. All three types have essentially the same health benefits, though I am amused at endless on-line stories reporting oolong tea as a weight-loss tool. If that were true, I would have looked like a super-model in college and grad school.

I never buy in the county what can be obtained in Baltimore City and I never buy on-line what can be had somewhat locally. So it was with an air of exasperation and resignation that I clicked the amazon.com checkout button to order this staple of life.

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