Monday, March 26, 2007

Tea in Seattle

I have returned from the rainy Northwest to the rainy Bay Area absolutely awash in fabulous Seattle tea. My friends there indulged me to a high degree, taking me to the Queen Mary Tearoom in the U district, a place with high levels of free-floating estrogen, sustained by caffeine and carbohydrates.

We had lunch accompanied by Golden Monkey tea, selected primarily for the name, although the tea descriptions spoke to the true tea snob. I'm sure there's a name for a tea sommalier, but I don't know what it is. I also wish at this point I were sure of the spelling of "connaisseur," but I am not. So I will simply say these descriptions were for those who actually have a good palate, and I am not one of those.

For example, should I get Darjeeling, "the champagne of teas," "A high mountain, second flush tea, picked from small gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas"? Or perhaps Jasmine Pearl, "A fragrant and tantalizing hand-rolled green tea from the Fujian province of mainland China. Scented more than five times with night-blooming jasmine."

I want to know who writes these descriptions.

As it is, as I said, we went for Golden Monkey, "A gold-red tipped, hand processed tea from the Fujian prvince of China. It is a smooth and delectable tea with a caramel finish." Our server arrived with teapots for each of us, saying, "Two Golden Monkeys," which had a festively simian quality to it, wouldn't you say? Our server, too, attested to Golden Monkey's caramel overtones, which were lost on me, probably drowned in the added milk and smothered in the granulated sugar with the rainbow-colored flecks. Yes, it was all tremendously precious. Mighty fine tea, though.

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