Awkward tea moments

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I frequented an excellent tea room here in NJ and the conversations I would overhear just about killed me. Why don’t they have lipton? Adding milk and sugar to an oolong or green tea. One rather rude patron actually left the restaurant, went to Dunkin’ Donuts to get a cup of coffee and then went back to her meal.

Cofftea said

Milk/sugar to an oolong- maybe, depending on what it is. Green? Rare, but not unheard of. 1st and last ones are inexcusable though!

Oolong I can see somewhat but the thought of milk in green tea turns my stomach (unless it’s a matcha latte of course)

Cofftea said

Yeah, I tried milk in a green chai once. Let’s just say it wasn’t as disgusting as I thought it would be (keep in mind I can’t stand the matcha/milk combo so no lattes for me)… green I could possibly fathom though even though it’s not my preference.

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Cofftea said

Went to Tropical Smoothie Cafe after a career fair that ended up being a disaster (wasting 5 hrs of my time does not make me happy.) One of their nutritional boosters is matcha! Even if this is sweetened like Starbucks’ “matcha”, I’m fine w/ it- and I need matcha right now… so what to put it in? I was taking forever (letting people go ahead of me of course) and the person at the counter asked, quite impatiently, if I was ready to order. I politely said I had it narrowed down between two and she asked which. I said I was debating between the chocolate chiller (chocolate and yogurt) w/ matcha or the strawberry beach (strawberry and yogurt) w/ matcha. She suddenly turned up her nose, made a face and said, “Well… um… matcha is green tea and it has a flavor, I don’t think it would be good with chocolate” Sigh… breathe… smile… I politely replied, “I’m well aware of what matcha is and drink it several times a day- and I love the combo of matcha and chocolate. Matcha hot chocolate is the best.” I decided to go w/ that since I don’t really like yogurt based fruit smoothies and was hoping the chocolate would cover the yogurt taste as I don’t like the yogurt/matcha combo either (I think it would have been good though cuz it ended up tasting like frozen yogurt) and it was amazing! After a few sips I thanked her again for the smoothie and told her it was very good. The shock on her face was almost as much as when I ordered it.

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IdentiTEA said

Ever since I aquired my new (and second) part time job and because, in the eyes of my co-workers, I am not “one of them,” I have gotten used to eating my lunch alone… either in the break room or at a local eatery. Usually I have been bringing magazines to read during my lunch break, but I finished all of them so one day I snagged my “Tea Drinkers Handbook” off my bookshelf to reread.

Yesterday, while at a fast food resturant, eating my lunch, reading my book, minding my own business, a gruby construction worker looking only a couple years older than I leaned over to me, pointed to a picture in my book and asked “is that pot?”

What he was refering to was a beautiful full page picture of a woman plucking tea leaves. I forced myself to smile, tilt my head, show him the cover of the book, and politely say “No, it’s tea.”

He quickly replied “Why would you read a book about tea?”
I said “So, it would be okay to read if it were a book about pot?”
He said “I don’t know. I don’t like books. I just like pot,” and then proceed to high five his friends as if he just scored a touch down.

The only thing I could think of in that moment was the fact that the guy probably had a more steady job and made more money than me. I, then, spent the rest of the working day contemplating that thought.

Cofftea said

Wow.. just… wow…

I don’t know if that’s awkward, but it’s definitely “special.”

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I got a good laugh at these stories so it inspired me to tell one of mine …

I recently walked into a Teavana store with the intention of finding out what, if any, ‘new tea’ they had. I was immediately approached by a young employee who, after asking me what I wanted (“Just browsing”) began to demonstrate to me the merits of their iced tea steeping paraphernalia. After I politely listened to her speech, and, since she seemed willing to help me, I decided to ask her about what new spring green teas they had in. We proceeded to the counter and she took down their best Chinese green tea (Imperial Huang Shan Mao Feng, I believe it’s called), while I began to ask questions about when it was plucked: early spring, late spring, the year, etc. Floundering in her attempt to answer my questions, her enthusiasm quickly began to wane. As we continued to talk it dawned on me that she knew nothing about when the tea was plucked, not even the year (When asked about silver needles, she could tell me was it was first flush -which I believe all true silver needles are anyway - but could not tell me the year). I began to tell her why the freshness of green tea is important to me, along with a number of other details about how to determine the quality of green tea, while she became less and less interested in talking to me (my wife, browsing about the store, even subtly got my attention and motioned to me that I was going on and on, …). Undaunted, I continued to forge ahead, convinced she would eventually give me some information on the age of their tea (or at least talk to another co-worker, offer to call HQ, look it up somewhere, etc), but to no avail.

I left feeling embarrassed, thinking no one else shares the interest or enthusiasm for tea as I do, and feeling disappointed in Teavana’s employees to be able to handle such questions (I teach, and even if I can’t answer a student’s question, I can always make an effort to look into it, even if I don’t eventually find the answer). I have had other similar encounters with employees of Teavana (although one or two were at least willing to make an effort to go beyond their own knowledge).

That’s one of the final things that drove me to join Steepster: to connect with like-minded people about tea!

Cofftea said

YOU should definitely not be the one embarrassed in that situation.

Yes, it’s understandable that a clerk may not know that information at a place like Teavana, but it’s just plain good customer service (and common courtesy outside the sales/buyer structure) to at least try to find answers for you… They still might not have gotten the info you were seeking, but an attempt is courteous.

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Alana237 said

These stories make me laugh! I was in a restaurant a while ago and they had a selection of at least 20 loose leaf teas. I asked what temperature they steeped the green teas at and the waitress looked at me with utter confusion and said “eh…boiling?”. I then proceeded to tell her about green teas needing cooler water. Then she just walked off as I was talking! I was so embarrassed.

Cofftea said

Again why are you embarrassed? It really annoys me (and actually angers me) when people that are correct/more knowledgeable are embarrassed. Why are you ashamed of your knowledge? If people who are knowledgeable continue to be embarrassed and ashamed, there’s not way that they can pass that knowledge to others and the ignorance will not only continue, but get worse.

I understand how that situation could be embarrassing. That doesn’t mean she was ashamed of her knowledge, that’s just an awkward interaction. But kudos for trying to give her a lesson in tea 101. I would have done the same thing.

Wow, and not exactly tip-inducing on the part of the waitress. That’s the point where they’re (I, when I was one) are supposed to at least nod and smile and find a TACTFUL way to leave the table. lol.

Alana237 , it is unfortunate that the waitress walked away as you were talking (I waited tables for many years and I don’t remember ever doing that). As Rumpus Parable stated, it certainly would have been more appropriate for her to have at least listened to what you had to say. I recently had a short conversation with a manager at our local Einstein’s Bagels about the proper steeping temperature of green tea (they serve it iced) and I found her to be very amicable towards me. She also seemed genuinely interested in what I was telling her and willing to look into their situation further. That’s my idea of good customer service. Consequently, I feel a little more accepted in my ‘tea enthusiasm’ at Einstein’s (although I like them anyway; great bagels!).

And I hear you Cofftea. Why am I afraid of my knowledge? Because sometimes (not always) it makes me feel different than others; and that can be a little scary.

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Not terribly awkward but a definite moment of “I don’t get that” from my mom on the phone the other night. I told her Chael (my spouse) had to put up new shelves in the kitchen to control my tea as it was getting a terrible mess and she made that little sound and moved the conversation elsewhere.

Mothers… ha! mine tries to convince me that I drink too much atleast once a week— it stains my teeth, and apparently messes with my metabolism!

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oh awkward tea moments…
Let’s see. Awhile back I was grabbing tea from a local to-go shop, and decided that mine needed some milk. Unfortunately, just as I was carrying it from the counter to the milk station, my bag slipped off my shoulder and into the crook of my elbow, causing me to splash hot tea all over myself and the counter!!
Of course, I hadn’t expected this, so cried out in surprise, drawing further attention to myself.
I still cringe when I think about that day.

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Anna Vu said

That’s a cool tidbit! I would have been impressed if you told me that. :)

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