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Unusual Tea Additive

Green tea is supposed to be good for you and Tazo China Green Tips is supposed to be pretty good tasting, so I’ve been sipping a cuppa or two in the morning. Teabags are a spendy way to buy tea, so I’ve been buying half a kilo at a shot from cooking.com, storing it in glass jars, and teaspooning it into a tea ball infuser over the course of the next year.

This interesting additive appeared in one of my teaballs; fortunately I was awake enough to notice it before it wound up in hot water.

Beetle found in Tazo Green Tea

Beetle found in Tazo Green Tea

It looked pretty much like the hull of a generic Asian Garden Beetle, although we haven’t seen anything quite like it in our gardens. Not a big deal, as garden beetles are fairly inoffensive critters, but not something that should make its way into a bag of lah-dee-dah tea. On the other paw, it’s hard to filter stuff like that out of the stream.

Fought my way through the Flash-saturated Tazo site, sent a note to the Customer Service folks, eventually had a pleasant phone chat. After convincing her that I wasn’t rabidly angry and that it really was one of their beetles, she dispatched fifteen bucks worth of Starbucks gift card.

It seems Starbucks either owns Tazo, both of ’em are controlled by the same outfit, or something like that. She was in the Starbucks Customer Service chain o’ command, anyway.

Beetle bottom view

Beetle bottom view

So I picked up three boxes of Tazo tea bags at the local Starbucks: more China Green Tips and some Green Tea with Lemon Grass (which doesn’t appear on their website). Left me with three cents on the card; I’m not a regular customer, so it’s now in the pile of cards I use as measurement shims in the workshop.

I’d been adding lemon grass from our garden to the morning cuppa for a pleasant lemon scent. The Tazo version includes Lemon Verbena, some mint, and other flavors that cranked the scent up to 11 and the taste far into my ptui range. Unpleasant, indeed.

For what it’s worth, if you’ve tried & disliked other green teas, give Tazo China Green Tips a shot. It’s delicate and much better than the other (far cheaper) green teas I’ve tried; Salada Green Tea is particularly noxious.

One of the China Green Tips reviewers on cooking.com comments “I found a rather long, nasty, kinky hair … I was shocked. I threw out the whole bag  … I was unable to drink tea for a week”.

Mexican Bean Beetle on Soybeans

Mexican Bean Beetle on Soybeans

Now, party people, I’m here to tell you that food just doesn’t pop out of the ground in a pristine state. Maybe it’s because we eat a lot of food from our own gardens, but passengers like that, let alone the odd hair, just aren’t an issue. Consider, for example, this critter that made it all the way into the house on some soybeans: he’s likely related to the Asian Garden Beetle family and not all that far back in their family trees.

If you want to really worry about something, ask yourself whether your tea grew downwind of, say, Zhejiang Happy Face Metal Refinery Complex Number Six. No way to tell about that, other than through a detailed chemical analysis of every cuppa.

Bon appétit!

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