I am in our new teahouse in the Tucson Botanical Gardens and enjoying a cup of. Meizhan oolong, one of my favorite WuYiShan rock oolongs. I am reminded of the tea drinking scholars of the Tang Dynasty that preferred to drink their tea in a natural setting. The garden is beautiful. When to Tucson in 1987 I fell in love with the lushness of the Sonoran Desert. A few years later I was exposed to good Chinese green tea through my friendship with a Chinese graduate student who came from an area rich in tea and tea culture. My life was set on an unexpected course as a result. I never returned to live in the city that I had loved so much and the North Beach espresso that I couldn’t get enough of. It is perhaps unusual to associate tea and the desert, but as I sit here this morning it seems perfectly right.
The Chinese settled in Tucson more than 150 years ago. They are not thought of having been so, at least in most peoples minds, but they have always been a part of the settling of the West, and of course they brought tea. There was a very vibrant Chinatown here until it got wiped out along with a good chunk of the old barrio. A lot of the residents were bilingual in Chinese and Spanish.
Selling tea in the desert is a sweet pleasure. Austin