As T Ching’s editor in training, I often search the world wide web for topics of interest to our readers. Tea, with its five millennia of documented use, is a rich subject for research. From history to how-to, there is a HUGE body of literature. You could spend months just browsing all of the beautiful tea accessories, not to mention the great variety of teas out there. Camellia sinensis is anything but simple.

In my other life as an English teacher, you can imagine that I have loved (and loathed) Shakespeare. As I write this, two of my classes are loving “Much Ado About Nothing,” which certainly wasn’t hurt by Kenneth Branagh’s beautiful 1993 film version. Two other classes just finished “Julius Caesar,” and we traditionally end the year with “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” reading and performing Act III outdoors. Shakespeare’s power to influence can further be proven by the fact that no one has ever named their child Iago. His character associations were that bad, after just one two hour play! Many and many a bon mot has its origins at the tip of the bard’s pen. Like tea, Willie-the-Shake is complex.

Imagine my delight when I happened upon a website that tells how tea influenced English literature’s heaviest – and most mysterious – hitter. After reading about some of the other figures, though, I am wondering if my leg is being pulled. Help me readers . . . is it fact or fiction?

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