Our friends over at Teaity posed an interesting question awhile ago via their Facebook page.  “What tea did you formerly hate, but now love?”  I thought it was such a great question.  Immediately I was flooded with fond memories of the tea I formerly hated, but now love – oolong.

My tea cabinet, which is currently busting at the seams with oolongs, would lead many to believe that I had a small obsession with this particular type of tea.  So how did I turn the corner with oolongs?

4209838417_25f2d20732_zBack in 2005, when I first started drinking tea, and specifically loose-leaf tea, I was an avid flavored, black tea drinker.  The fruitier, the better.  I popped into my favorite tea store in Chicago and purchased an Orchid Oolong blend.  I thought I was so sophisticated, although I had no idea what an oolong was.  But I loved the name and wanted to jump right into the tea scene with two feet.  It was the most disgusting thing I ever drank.  Unfortunately, I let that tea steep for six minutes, resulting in an extremely bitter brew.  Had I to do it all over, I am sure I would appreciate the cup much more now.  However, at the time, I thought this was how all oolongs tasted.

Fast forward two precious years of non-oolong drinking.  I was invited to visit an awesome little Victorian tea room in La Mesa, California, and I had the chance to try a roasted oolong.  My eyeballs bulged, my mouth salivated.  I had no idea oolongs could be so flavorful.  I learned a really important lesson that day.  Never judge an entire group of teas based on just one cup!  I was so sad to realize that I had squandered two years of my tea-drinking life by avoiding oolongs.  I have since used that lesson to delve into pu-erhs.  Those first few experiences have not been totally enjoyable, but I am working on it.

Now tell me – what’s the one tea you swore off that has since become your favorite???

This post first appeared on T Ching as “The tea I almost passed on,” 21 March 2013.
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