For the last 9 months, I met a lot of beginning tea drinkers, curious coffee drinkers, regular tea drinkers and a handful of connoisseurs here at the shop. When the price tag $120/lb pops up, majority just say "wow" or "WOOOOW". The handful of connoisseurs would say, hmm, can I try the nice teas? Either they end up taking a small pack or wipe out the stock. And some of them laugh hysterically out loud when they saw $120 a pound of tea. As a shop keeper, I just suck it all up with a nice smile and offer a taste. Whipping out the $1200/lb Dan Cong would be unprofessional now. :P
On Saturday, a customer came in with my list of tea in hand, and told me he wants to get a few things from the list. I gladly helped him, and we started chatting about tea. He told me his wife and him start drinking tea a few months ago by discovering the tea section in Whole Food. Whole Food is an up scale chain of organic hippie food stores. It's a notch up from regular grocery stores in case you wonder what Whole Food is all about. Until a couple of weeks ago, they both wandered into my shop unintentionally and took home some teas. They found out loose leaf teas truly is more fresh and flavorful than grocery store teas. Then he continued with what else he has uncovered, the price of tea. Some of the tea bags in a box cost $12 for 1.2 oz. If you do the math, that's almost $200 a pound of unknown vintage unknown grade of tea. My few dollars per ounce of tea (2 oz size pack) has lasted a while for him.
These words if were come out of my mouth, it'd sound like a sales pitch, but coming from a consumer, makes me excited. It sounds almost like bell rings of Notre Dame.
I feel my 2 years of work is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This understanding of tea, both quality and value of tea being recognized by a new group of tea drinkers validates the value of specialty teas. It's not just for the honor my shop and teas I carry, it's rather for the entire specialty tea industry, everyone that has contributed to promote quality teas.
There should be a tea dance for moments like this. :P