It is true: I am not a tea snob. Just yesterday I had a cup of Bigelow’s Earl Gray, made with chopped up bits of black tea in the typical paper sachet bag. It was among the “leftovers” I brought home from work when we moved to our new offices last summer…as was this tin of oolong that I bought in Philadelphia’s Chinese section in 2008.
We had gone to eat in a nearby restaurant and walking back to our hotel, passed the entrance. “Oh, I wonder if they have any Chinese tea!” My friend, who was originally from China, rolled her eyes at me and drily responded, “Nope, probably not.” We found a small grocery store and I selected the tin of tea, primarily because among things I enjoy and collect are various tins of food items.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have been astounded at the number of wheat-themed dishes I have discovered in the past few days of searching for makers. Apparently, many manufacturers of tableware riffed on the designs and/or names of other manufacturers, as there were any number called Golden Wheat, Harvest Time, Gold Harvest, etc. In fairness, how many variations of a sheaf of wheat could there be? This cup resembles any number of other designs, but with enough differences to mean I could not identify it. Other variations similar to this one included 3 to 7 stalks of wheat, with none having the 5 depicted here in this particular arrangement. Replacements LTD had 13 pages of wheat designs, with 24 to the page and I still did not find one like this–and that is how I know there were far more designs using wheat than I might have thought earlier!
Now, about the tea, marked only as China Oolong, and described as:
A specially selected of buds and young leaves of tea prepared with traditional sanitary method. And giving the most fragrant flavour when cooked. An excellent drink guaranteed.
I truly have no recollection of whether or not this tea was good, or at least, not bad, when I drank it over the first few years. I located the import company in Brooklyn, and based on the street view of the company, it is merely a huge warehouse with stacks of pallets visible through the open door, which is pretty much what one should expect from an importer–after all, they just import it to sell it to a retailer. The aroma was fairly weak at this point, slightly vegetative, and with no particular flavor, but one would not expect a tea of initial low quality to age well, now would one? It was really a matter more of curiosity to pair the last cup in my small collection with the last of the different teas I currently have in the house. As I move toward retirement in May, I have slowly been culling items as to what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away. This tin can now be moved into the ‘what to throw away’ pile. While at one point, I would have put it in the can recycle, with the current stay-home orders in place, who knows when that will again be an option.
So for now, the tea tasting and tea cup explorations are at an end! I shall have to look for a new way to amuse myself with my morning tea.