Thursday, 12 April 2012

My mom went to Colonial Williamsburg and all I got was this lousy tea

my Colonial Williamsburg care package

Sometime last year my mother went to Virginia, and then sent me a package with some tea-related goodness that she found in Colonial Williamsburg. And before you get bent out of shape about the ingratitude in the title, I'm only kidding.

At many tourist attractions in the United States (and those places  Americans regularly go in Mexico), there's a t-shirt on sale that says something like, 'My parents went to (insert tourist attraction here) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.' It's a sentiment that, when you think about it, is actually openly ridiculing gratitude. Nevertheless, it was funny when I was eight.

I wasn't expecting much of this tea. It came from an historical location, after all. No-one goes to Colonial Williamsburg for the tea. Unless maybe they're planning to dump it in the harbour.

Actually, the tea's not so bad. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but I've been drinking it all week and it's better than I expected.

I started with the Bohea, which is described here'

'A distinctive, China black tea which is one of the finest teas available. It is typical of the tea sold in merchant's stores such as Greenhow's, Tarpley's, and the Prentis Store in the eighteenth century. In November of 1774 two half-chests of tea belonging to John Prentis were tossed into the York River by inhabitants of York and merchants of Williamsburg, in protest of his violation of the nonimportation agreement. A satirical mezzotint was published in London in 1775 based on an account of this Yorktown "tea-party".'
Here are the leaves:

Bohea, the purportedly 'distinctive' China black tea

You probably think the first thing I want to talk about is the description of the tea, but that part's actually horribly bland and useless. If you tell me your tea is 'distinctive', I smell a rat. What does that even mean? 'One of the finest teas available'? I understand that's simply marketing, but I have to disagree. It's decent tea. Finest available it is not.

But no, the first thing that caught my eye was mezzotint. What's a mezzotint? I mean, I can deduce what it means from the context, but I've never heard of such a thing. Must put on my researcher's hat for this one.

Well, I didn't need to go far. Here's the Wikipedia page on mezzotint. I thought maybe it was some sort of theatrical production, but this is somehow better. Oh, and here you can see the mezzotint of the Yorktown tea party (you have to scroll down the page a bit).

In addition to the Bohea, there was also a package of green tea called Pinhead Gunpowder. Despite the fact that the little card accompanying the tea has the same ridiculously vague terminology, I adore the name of this tea. Pinhead Gunpowder is perfect, isn't it? I'm sure there's an historically interesting reason for the name, but for my ridiculously easily-to-please sense of humour, I'm going to assume this is green tea for pin heads.

That's it for me. I'm off to drink some more of this aptly named Pinhead Gunpowder.

No comments:

Post a Comment