Monday, March 2, 2009

Tea....or turd?

When we were in China, we purchased several varieties of tea, because, hey, we were in China! We went to a tea house and got to sample lots of awesome brews. We brought home several different kinds: lots of green tea, especially jasmine green tea (yum!), and some kind of "pearl" green tea, some black tea (I think it was oolong) and "others that I can't recall the names of."

Well, the jasmine green tea is our favorite, hands-down. It comes in a snazzy canister that looks like this, so how could you go wrong, right?

Each little jasmine flower is meticulously tied into a green tea ball, so each "serving" looks like this:

After you boil the water and let it cool for a minute, you pour it over the tea ball and wait for the jasmine flower to open. Not only does it smell incredibly aromatic, but the flower is mostly edible (except for the string that ties it into the ball, although I suppose if you were hard up for fiber you could give it a try).

I don't actually eat the flower, but occasionally a petal or a green leaf floats loose and I drink it unintentionally. My sister finds the rather.....errr......"organic" nature of this experience repulsive, but it's not as gross as it probably sounds to some of you.

Especially considering some of the things we ingested while in China. Need I say more?

Somewhere I have better pictures, but this will give you an idea of what it looks like:

"One of the other teas I can't remember the name of"
I can't honestly believe we actually tasted this tea in China before we bought it, but we must have, because I know we only bought stuff we sampled. But somehow either we were duped by the zealous sales lady or our palate was tricked. Somehow this "hay and barnyard" variety slipped through the cracks.

Now, the box it came in is brilliantly stunning. Deceptively so. I mean, check out the beautiful Chinese calligraphy on the rice paper holding the "wheel" of black tea. Pretty sweet.

When I unwrapped the parcel of tea and looked at it, I immediately thought to myself, "Hmmm."

Closer look:

Let's be forthright, shall we?

It looks like a reconstituted mass of straw and dung.

"Check this out!" I jokingly said to my sister and her husband as I broke into it. I started giggling. "A cow pie."

I sniffed it.

You gotta be kidding!

Smelled pretty much like a cow pie.

I frowned down at it for a minute, thinking "I have a HUGE wheel of crap. I sure hope it tastes better than it looks and smells."

Well, before I went any further, I really should have thought about my dad's old joke. You know, the one where the guy walking along sees a pile of what looks like dog poop on the sidewalk and goes over to check it out:

(peers intently) "Sure looks like poop."
(sniff sniff) "Sure smells like poop."
(gingerly pokes it) "Sure feels like poop."

(nibble nibble) "Sure tastes like poop."
(breathes a sigh of relief and says...) "Good thing I didn't step in it!"

Sure enough, the tea tasted like a cow barn. I didn't think it was possible to reproduce the barnyard scent and texture in liquid form, but somehow the Chinese did it. I think I accidentally flossed my teeth with a piece of hay just drinking the stuff.

And the box looked so pretty, darnit! I guess someone really has finally mastered the art of polishing a turd.


linda l said...

It's probably really GOOD for you in some inscrutable, mysterious way, don'tcha think?

Suzie said...

You might know this already, but it's actually pu erh, a fermented green tea. It's actually pretty good- has a nice earthy taste!

Jason and Emily said...

Suzie, I should've known: you know your crap. Part of it's official name is "pu" eh? How ironic.