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?
Back 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???