Monday, September 22, 2008


Lara took me to Southpark in Charlotte and I got to go to Teavana. I've seen the store before but never gone in, so I was happy to see the cans full of loose leaf tea and people milling around not really buying anything. The sales lady was also happy to see me. "Have you ever been to Teavana before?" she asked. "No," I replied, and promptly tried to see through her since she was blocking my view of the teas that I wanted. She first tried to sell me something that smelled like Kool-aid, but came down after her sales pitch when I asked for Keemun and Lungching which was labelled as "dragonwell." I bought two ounces of the Keemun which she prompted me to buy 1/4 lb because it was being discontinued (after tasting a cup I can see why. Hopefully I'll get the brew time right), and 1/4 lb of lungching. And after I bought this much tea, she said, "you know, you should really brew these teas in a yixing tea pot. Why, I've brewed some of my black teas at home and blah blah blah." Beats me if the saleslady works on comission, but who knew tea could be pushed and hustled so readily?
I had a cup of the Imperial Keemun with water close to boiling and a steeping time of 3 minutes. It has a fairly smoky start to it, and a savory, leathery finish. It wasn't until the second infusion that I began to notice an actual familiar Keemun character: the floweriness that's not sweet, nor pungent, nor rustic, but similar to the scent of an orchid. It makes me think that it's actually a blend of Lapsang Souchong and Keemun, albeit somewhat of a poor blend since the different flavors of the Keemun are muted. Unfortunately, my overall impression, as of right now, is that the tea wasn't stored properly or it's old: even though it's a flowery orange pekoe grade, the tea is kind of bland.

There is one thing the lady got right though: I probably would be better off brewing tea in a yixing teapot. But I'm not exactly sure where their teapots are made, and depending on how good the lungching is, I might not be willing to buy from them again.
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