Photo: Elmwood Inn
For months, we here at Guy Code Blog wanted to do a post titled "The Manliest Teas In The World." Only problem is, we don't know jack about tea. Yeah, we could've listed Australia's Manly Tea Company, or Jeremiah Weed's Sweet Tea Bourbon or coca tea, illegal in the U.S. but available in parts of South America. Or Earl Grey tea, 'cause Captain Picard drinks it on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
We finally decided to admit our ignorance, and called up internationally renowned tea expert Bruce Richardson. Dude lives in Kentucky and prizes his tea just as much as his bourbon. He schooled us on manly teas, the manly history of tea and how tea might actually get you chicks. (And we're not talking 'bout Long Island Iced Tea.)
So, what's your manliest tea? The one monkeys pick off cliffs in China?
That's actually not true. You're not the first westerner to believe that myth--it's been going around for hundreds of years.
Oh man, that's even more disillusioning than porn stars without makeup. All right, what should we drink instead?
There are two teas that men have gravitated toward for a long time. Lapsang souchong, a Chinese black tea from the Wuyi mountains, known as the "black tea district" for 150, 200 years.
Not picked by monkeys, though?
No. This tea is smoked with burning pine needles. It was the favorite tea of Winston Churchill. It's a manly tea in that you'd drink it sitting in a big ol' leather chair next to a fire in the wintertime, and read a great novel. It's one of those historic teas on everybody's list--you either love it or hate it, there's no in-between.
What's your other manly tea not picked by monkeys?
The great classic Chinese green tea is called "gunpowder," for high-caliber men. It was one of the most common teas in America in the 19th century. If a Civil War soldier had tea, that would've been it.
In the past, was drinking tea viewed as more masculine?
What I'm seeing is that it's coming back for men, because men are great collectors. If they discover single-malt scotch, they don't just buy one; they buy four from each of the different regions of Scotland, and invite their friends over to taste them all. Here in Kentucky, I'll have three or four different bourbons for when somebody comes over. Same thing with teas.
You could put all your bourbons in all your teas.
Well, you could. We're working with a distillery down the road on a bourbon-infused tea. ... You might also be interested in the fact that the fastest growing U.S. demographic for tea-drinking is the 18- to 30-year-old segment. Forget the grocery store teabags; contemporary tea drinkers are going for the loose stuff!
By the way, if a woman comes over to your apartment or house, and you make her tea, you've made a good impression. A woman feels safe with a man who makes tea.
So if you want to impress a woman, what tea should you buy?
I'd suggest jasmine pearl, a hand-rolled Chinese green tea. It takes one person a full day to roll one pound. When you hit it with hot water that jasmine just releases itself, and it's enchanting.
Is jasmine pearl picked by monkeys?
Just because it says "monkey picked" doesn't mean it really is picked by monkeys. You don't know where their hands have been.