Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cup of Poetry

This morning I am sipping a cup of Wuyi Oolong tea. There is a mellowness about oolongs which black teas lack, and who could resist a tea billed as “The Cup of Poetry”? I love this tea. I also love obsessively researching insignificant details that most people don’t care about. That is why this morning, with my mug of poetry beside me, I surfed a few tea sites to learn this oolong’s history.

I learned that Song dynasty poets were enraptured over this [Chinese pronunciation] wulong tea as early as the eleventh century. Also known as Rock Tea, or Crag Tea, Yancha has a unique flavor known as Rock Rhyme (Yan Yun) because of the high mineral content on Wuyi Mountain where it is grown. “Crag bone floral fragrance” one website said the flavor is called.

The secret of Wuyi Oolong is its geographical location, the uniqueness of a small spot in China where the nine-bend Jiuqu Xi River meanders among deep gorges. Thirty-six peaks, ninety-nine crags, four thousand different plant species and the Var Bohea -- the Wuyi tea plant cultivated only in this biologists dream landscape.

Did I mention, I also learned that the place where I bought my “Cup of Poetry” grows their Oolongs in Taiwan. Taiwan. There is no Wuyi mountain in Taiwan.

My tea is not the miracle weight loss Wu-Yi that several websites gushed about. It is not the tea sipped in the Imperial Tea Gardens in the Fuijan province birthplace of Oolong Teas. My tea’s rich darkness is not characterized by the poetic history of cliffs and caves interwoven with watery ravines. It’s just a good cup of tea nothing more, but nothing less.

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