Friday, May 20, 2011

New Tea House in Town

Our town had super exciting news. The video rental place had gone out of business but good things were happening in that building. The signs went up for a TEA HOUSE! Woohoo! Our very own local tea house! I had imagined it as a quiet zen-like garden, people sipping tea, maybe eating some light ramyen or rice snacks. Soft music would be playing, and the most important decision would be whether to choose the sencha or maybe the gyokuro green tea or was I feeling more oolong-y today? (why doesn't may spell checker know the word oolongy?)

Not only was there going to be tea, but if we were really lucky there could be mah jong or even go! Yes, this was going to be the best day of my life!

I dressed up in my cute kimono, put on my dainty slippers (which got wet because of the stupid rain) and headed to the tea house with one of my friends and her young daughter.


The place showed a certain lack of zen-i-ness but I was willing to tolerate that in exchange for high quality tea.

Hmmmm, this looked awfully 'standard American Chinese' restaurant-y to me. The waitress told us that tea would be free with a meal, would we like some? Well, yes, duh!, I wasn't going to say no to tea in a TEA house, so I was all ready to discuss which of the first harvests of this year would be our best choice Tough luck I had, the free tea was exactly one choice.

She brought us one of those ugly metal tea pots, but nice tea cups to go with them, so we poured ourselves some tea, ready for a heart warming drink. I smelled it first, just like any good tea connoisseur would and thought I might, far in the distance, like at the other side of the mountain, just past the boy and his sheep, detect a hint of green tea. I was still willing to blame my spring allergies for the lack of good smell, even if it was raining cats and dogs, but who
knows, maybe I am allergic to them too.

Time for the first sip. Politeness prevented me from spitting it up, getting up angrily, ranting about how horrible this tea was (also because my Chinese is not really up to that yet anyway) so I swallowed it and started talking with my friend how much we enjoyed our tea. Only she didn't either. We both agreed that the tea was WAY too weak, and not very well steeped and didn't taste like good quality tea anyway. My gut feeling was that they must have used BOILING water
to steep this green tea instead of water at the proper green tea temperature. Amateurs!

My friend was still willing to give them another chance and asked whether there were other teas available. 'Sure, let me get you the tea menu!' Ah. now we were talking. A tea menu! Finally a chance to see the GOOD teas instead of the one they give for free to all the peasants.

There was a grand total of FIVE items on the tea menu. FIVE! Mandarin-orange, decaf green tea, Sleepytime, spicy chai and one more which I don't remember. Geez. Tea house they call themselves. She chose the mandarin orange and it didn't take long before it arrived.

Hmmmm, interesting.... Want to try it? Sure, I tried it and agreed that no , it wasn't very orangy, but yes, it was spicy. When the waitress came back, my friend asked whether she was sure she got the right tea, not the spicy chai by accident? The waiter was totally reassuring 'Oh no, don't worry, it is the right kind for sure! I put in the Keurig cup myself! It said mandarin orange on the top!'

I died. KEURIG tea???? the ones in the ugly cups that doesn't allow the tea to actually STEEP? What can I say but that this was our first AND last visit to this particular tea house.

Even if their sushi wasn't bad.
Even if they had frogs and pig ears on the menu
Even if tea is the staple of my life.
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flyingfisher said...


Wendy said...

Oh my. They should be driven out of town- or at least forced to rename themselves.

Irina Rainy said...

I so wish your dream tea house would be there instead of the "tea house"