Tea, More Than Just a Political Prop

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Yesterday's tea parties were many things, astroturf or real grassroots, staged or phony--but they weren't about tea, which even the most loyal coffee drinker should learn to love. "Loyal" is the right word, since it was the original tea party and boycott of tea that helped turn this country into a coffee, not a tea country, and give tea its pinkie-up rep.

But the dirty secret of many coffee obsessives is that they stash a secret love on the side--as I did while researching my own book on coffee. The one I settled on as an essential in my morning brewing (which yes, involves coffee too) is the one Zeke Emanuel has decided he can't do without: Yunnan. I mix many other teas into a blend that varies each morning (no, I don't mix any coffee in--that's a whole other daily blend), but Yunnan is a staple.

My own love affair with Yunnan was inspired by Ari Weinzweig, whose education in tea resulted in his strong dependence on it, which induced the same thing in me. I buy mine from him at Zingerman's, or, for quick replacements, from Peet's--which recently sold a deluxe, and very expensive, version called Leaping Tiger, prettily curled into the little balls called hong luo, that I might have developed a dangerous weakness for.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
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