Owner of tea room criticizes coffee

‘Tea gives lasting effect of calmness. … It’s much more healthy’

Hong Wu sees the future in leaves and has a message for coffee consumers: Drink tea.

Wu isn’t clairvoyant, but she runs Dream About Tea, an Evanston store where she and her husband sell hundreds of kinds of tea and offer a course, The Chinese Art of Tea Appreciation.

“People drink coffee to boost their energy, but they get jittery,” Wu said.

“Tea gives a lasting effect of calmness and energy. It’s much more healthy.”

The five-session course is held in the store at 1011 Davis St. and includes the significance of tea in Chinese culture, categories of tea and proper brewing methods, Wu said.

She and her husband opened the store 18 months ago after graduating from business school.

In China, tea is not only a national beverage but also essential in showing respect, as in the day after a wedding the bride always serves tea to her in-laws, she said.

“Tea is such a humble drink,” Wu said.

It is often unnecessary to add tea to clay teapots more than 20 years old, she said, because tea that has soaked into the pot over the years is released when water is added.

Wu said tea leaves pressed into cookie-size cakes represent the highest level of tea in China.