Teahouse of Horrors

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Over a year ago I sat down with an old friend at Ching Ching Cha Teahouse in Georgetown. This teahouse was recommended by someone who told me I had to try their artisan tea which blooms like a flower inside your cup. My flower was bright pink in color. It reminded me of those novelty pills that expand to form dinosaur shaped sponges when you drop them in water.

Our table did not have sugar so I asked the waitress if she can bring some. She said, “The owner thinks the teas taste best without sugar, so we do not have any.” Oh really?

Many of you are reading this through my RSS feed. It puts out full text of my posts so you can read at sites like Bloglines and Google Reader, or in an aggregator blog that mashes my feed with a bunch of others. If I operated this site like I did the owners of the teahouse, I would not serve an RSS feed—I would force you to come here and read my writing on my own terms.

This is like how, until recently, the music companies only wanted you to listen to music through shiny plastic discs. Their sales numbers show that control doesn’t work. Treating people like children and limiting their options without good reason doesn’t work. People want to choose how ideas or services are delivered to them, or they will vote with their legs and go elsewhere. Not only have I never been back to that teahouse, I have not recommended it to anyone.

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Nabs
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The owner’s “ideals” here probably have to do more with culture than with business sense. I’m sure there is something about how this tea has been served for generations without sugar and it is almost sacrilegious to add sugar or something. Asian cultures tend to have such beliefs in my experience. Though at the end of the day it doesn’t matter the reason, business is business.

Eric
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You’re absolutely right. Natural selection is especially poignant within the context of capitalism.

Jewcano
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It’s free market capitalism. If so many shmucks want to pay to go to a teahouse and order some gimmick that the guy can afford retail rent in Georgetown, more power to him. Half of DC is built on tricking someone into trendy crap (and the other half is mostly supported with tax dollars.) Just remember to grab some sugar at McDonald’s on the way.

Days of Broken Arrows
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“This is like how, until recently, the music companies only wanted you to listen to music through shiny plastic discs.”

And they’ll have their way again if they destroy internet radio, which they have done by lobbying Congress to raise royalty rates. Not to get way off topic, but anyone who likes internet radio should go to http://www.savenetradio.org to help save their favorite stations.

cob
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Quality thoughts, as usual.

Anonymous
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Putting sugar in high quality is like bringing a crying, smelly baby to a high-end restaurant.

Tom
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Well, I kinda agree with the owner of that teahouse.

It’s like Italian first course (pasta, risotto, …). It’s really forbidden to mix it with other food but so many tourists wanna eat them with salad or drink coffee as same time. It wont ever taste better. Can be added just cheese on top (if there is no fish in the sauce) and eventually pepper/chili. Drinking at same time just water or beer or wine.
It’s a matter of tradition and training our taste.

At least I require the correct way to be clearly stated and promoted.

Tea should be drunk without sugar, as they do in China and all Asia. Btw white sugar is just newly invented, last 100 years or so, while tea was used for centuries.
Being the owner of the place I would have put white, cane/brown and black sugar, with also fructose and honey on a counter with a stand saying “Tea is drunk for centuries without sugar, so try it without to taste its real flavour. If you really want to sweeten it, here you have a selection of different sweeteners: …..”