I've always enjoyed tea. I used to drink tea from teabags. Things simply labelled "green tea" or "Ceylon Tea". Not because I had no appreciation, but because I had no idea how deep and complex a thing tea is. Tea is not only a drink. Tea is a pastime, a tradition, a culture, a way of life, a connection to one other, and a drink. Tea can put us in touch with deep transcendental values that are worth much more than, caffeine value, health benefits, and weight loss.
Last fall I stumbled upon Teavana. I was fascinated by whole leaves and these new teas I had no idea existed. At that point I didn't even know what oolong was. I wasn't however, fascinated with the prices. They were prohibitive and I didn't end up purchasing anything.
I went home, started reading and interest turned into obsession. I would devour every scrap of information I could get and ordered loads of samples of unblended tea from adagio. I couldn't get enough! I started searching for a local tea shop to fuel my new found addiction. I found Tea Harbor and discovered how good Chinese tea can get! Then I discovered The Green Teaist where I learned about Japanese tea.
Now I get most of my tea from specialty websites because I'm always searching for something new and unusual or just really good tea. That's not to say that non-specialty shops don't have good tea, or that good tea is limited to the exclusive or rare. In fact I wouldn't consider tea an exclusive thing whatsoever! Many people obsess over this saying that "True tea only comes from the camellia sinensis,". I say as long as it's steeped in water, and you enjoy it, it's tea! I'll add that I like to say that coffee is arguably a type of tea, however heretical it may be.
The tea was good by the way! It was Tie Guan Yin from Tea Harbor! I think it's not oxidized enough, closer to baozong style than Tie Guan Yin. Great none the less!