- At Home
When I read a piece about the top half-dozen places in the U.S. to drink tea, my competitive juices kicked in and I immediately started making a list of my own. After all, one man’s list is as good as another’s, even though I’m pretty sure my list is better than the rest.
I should make some something clear right up front. I like tea, but I like people even better. I’m not sure that’s true of every tea connoisseur. Some think getting a wholesale blooming tea supplier on his side is a coup, but to me it all depends on if I like the guy or not.
So when I started compiling names of places where I have enjoyed tea, I tend to rank them more on the merits of the people with whom I shared a teapot than on the tea itself. I hope that’s doesn’t color your judgment about the quality of my list. A good oolong tea, when you think about it, can be enjoyed many places, but Jimmy Oolong can only be enjoyed at his place in Topeka, Kansas, USA.
Jimmy Oolong isn’t his real name, of course, but his friends call him that because oolong is his choice of tea every time he prepares one. His place isn’t much, either. It’s only a little hole in the wall on the east side of Shunganunga Creek. But when I pull up a chair at his table and sip some of his oolong—usually a Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong—I know I am in one of the better tea drinking places.
Another stellar tea-drinking location—are you taking notes?—is on the terrace outside the home of my friend Abia. Her home sits high above a main street that winds sharply downhill through Amman, Jordan. I always thought the street would be a perfect place to hold a soapbox derby. If you’re looking for something to sponsor in Amman, you might think about that.
Anyway, Abia is as charming as she is elegant and when she pours her favorite tea, I anticipate both tea and conversation. She usually takes a few leaves from a round brick of Mengku pu-erh and brews up a cup of smooth, rich liquid that leaves me purring. Or maybe it is Abia that has that effect. I need to think about that.
Here’s the honest truth: Tea anywhere is a great conversation-starter. That’s true whether you procure it from a wholesale black tea supplier because you drink so much of it, or have just a few cups a year with Abia. If it weren’t for tea, I wouldn’t have had this conversation with you!
(Want to stay connected to other tea lovers? Check the Tea Twitterati 100, a list of the 100 most active tea industry social media users. The regularly updated list is posted on the website of premium quality tea supplier Wild & Bare Co. wildandbare.com)