by Naomi Rosen
Our friends over at Teaity posed an interesting question back a couple of weeks ago via their Facebook page. "What tea did you formerly hate, but now love?" I thought it was such a great question and I immediately had fond memories of tea experiences. The tea I formerly hated, but now love is.....wait for it.....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, 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 and 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 had ever drank.
Nowadays, I am well aware of the fact that I don't like floral teas. Jasmine is about as botanical as I am willing to go. I'm not a huge fan of chamomile, lavender, etc. I also let that tea steep for 6 minutes and it was extremely bitter. 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, CA, 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 at all cost. I have since used that lesson to delve into puerhs. 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???