Julian, one of our most esteemed tea gurus talks tea, and dating and how to best blend the two!
You can learn so much about a person by what kind of tea they order. Don’t get me wrong – I was definitely a peppermint Stash kind of guy when I walked into Samovar for the first time on a man-date with one of my best friends. It was his secret date place, and, as it is for many people unaccustomed to camellia sinensis, the tea and herbal selection was quite intimidating to me at first. I knew I wanted to be adventurous, however, I had no idea how to even begin saying the word pu-erh, let alone know how to order or drink it (pooh-air, as it turns out).
My first hot sip at Samovar Tea Lounge was of the 8 Treasures, a sweet and refreshing mix of dates, berries, rock sugar and schizandra. It was served gong-fu style, which was handy to learn given I would begin my love affair with oolongs not long thereafter. Following that first experience I was hooked, and it was only a matter of time before I became interested in learning more about tea and joining the Samovar team.
I’ve learned loads about tea and the people who love it so much the past year that I’ve been working here. I’ve learned what I like to drink, what kind of tea should be paired with what kind of food, and how to make recommendations to people based on what they tell me they like. This last skill that I’ve acquired, however, has proved to be the most beneficial to me in my personal life, for reasons other than the soothing sedation or captivating charge that most turn to tea for.
Before working at Samovar, I had a job in a café where we served ice cream, and let me tell you, you can tell a lot about someone by what kind of ice cream they order (if they choose sorbet or non-fat yogurt – well, then, that says something, too.) As an active dater who has adopted my friend’s habit of taking prospective soul mates to Samovar for a calming brew, being a server at Samovar and knowing tea has made my dating life so much easier. Their tea choices reduce my work by half.
I once dated this guy who, upon telling him my place of work, proceeded to tell me how much tea he drank and how much he loved Samovar. It’s always nice to hear about fans, to hear about tea drinkers and their excitement, and on our second date I brought him to Samovar to have some tea before a movie. Now, there is nothing wrong with the Peppermint Lavender blend we serve at Samovar. I love it, it’s great to help me snooze at night, and it makes a really refreshing iced tea. But it’s safe and lacks risk, and after a failed relationship with someone who enjoyed a monotonous routine, I really felt like dating someone who played it safe all the time was not what I was looking for.
Needless to say, there was no third date.
A few months later I met someone who seemed to know all, about the world and about all things. It was nice, to hear him elaborate on things that I knew little to nothing about, because I love to learn and I have a great interest in someday knowing a little about everything. Upon our mandatory tea date, however, he ordered a pu-ehr tea (the Maiden’s Ecstasy), talking the talk and putting me under the impression that he was an old pro at sipping the aged tonic.
When it was served, however, he did a very skillful job at hiding the displeasure he felt when it met his lips, and, being a professional discomfort detector, I knew he had never sipped a pu-ehr tea in his life. It was fine with me if he had only told me, but his deviance in an attempt to impress made me only question all the other things he had talked his way through, me too ignorant to know the difference.
That date was short-lived, as well. In looking back, and seeing that I am still alone, and that I made what would seem like hasty decisions based on what to most people would seem relatively bogus techniques, I don’t regret anything. Everyone has their ways of spotting red flags and making decisions based on what they realize, and my technique is no different. I’ll just work and write and learn until the day I meet my own sweet Darjeeling.