Forest of Tea‘s gorgeous front room

Continued from Unexpected Tea Adventure – Part 1

By this point it was approaching evening, and snacks were no longer sufficient. A quick call to my hubby’s local cousin arranged a later visit but for the immediate, sent us in the direction of a recommended restaurant. After noting a tea shop a block away, we found ourselves at Cornucopia Bar and Burgers. Consulting our menus, my charming companion noticed it informing that all of their beef was local and hormone- and antibiotic-free. With something akin to awe, I realized that this meant I could eat beef in a restaurant for the first time in over a decade (normally anything not acquired from a neighbor causes me abdominal pain). It was therefore with great relish that I devoured a French dip; with bites shared with the husband and a few he shared with me of his Philly cheesesteak.

After settling the tab (and our beers) we made our way to the nearby tea shop we’d observed earlier. With the intriguing name Forest of Tea, they only opened last month. When first entering, I was immediately struck by how elegantly the front room was arranged. Beautiful gaiwan and gong fu service sets of porcelain and ceramic in a myriad of colors, interspersed with other dishes, fans, figurines, fabrics, and–of course–tea. The sweet and extremely knowledgeable employee Emily greeted us and let us know that they have six types of tea: Black, yellow, dark, white, green, and oolong. She then provided us with menus that gave detailed descriptions of each offering and gave her recommendations based upon what our flavor preferences were: Bold or delicate. For my husband she recommended a Wuyi oolong (shui hsien) and for me a jasmine green. I seconded her recommendation for my husband, pointing out to him that an oolong would help his body process the recent heavy meal as Emily nodded agreement. For myself, I requested the yellow tea they’d apparently accidentally left out of their menu: The white silver needle (bai hao yinzheng, which without a menu entry I had to ask how to spell!). We had requested it to go, so we were handed recycled cardboard cups–each with a heat sleeve–with a warning that it was very hot. After paying I asked how to say “thank you” in Chinese: Xiexie. After repeating a couple times to check my pronunciation I committed it to memory, thanked her again with a big smile, and we gingerly carried our hot tea away.

The final part of our adventure was to drive out into the suburbs for a visit with my cousin-in-law. Apparently very close in their boyhoods, it had been six years since they had seen each other at the cousin’s wedding. We had a long-overdue moment of relaxation, chatting with him and his wife; all the while savoring the sweet bliss of our tea. My husband was filled with joy to finally meet the newest member of the next generation of his family as we were amused by the antics of his cousin’s two-year-old son. Finally, having finished our tea and finding myself nodding off, we bid our farewells and began the long drive home. We kept ourselves amused and awake during the tedious drive by collaborating on this post. All in all, as we stretched upon finally arriving at home, we agreed that it had been an incredible day full of new happy memories of family, new places, and of course: Tea.

Image is copyright to Forest of Tea and is used with permission

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