What real tea sounds like duck tea?
April 23, 2010 7:30 AM   Subscribe

What kind of chinese tea did we drink that sounded to our ears like duck tea?

Whilst in NYC recently, the SO and I dined at a chinese restaurant (Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell St, if that helps) where we were provided with a pot of tea for the table. As it was pretty tasty and we're no tea experts we asked what type of tea it was. The waitress told us it was 'duck tea', but subsequent googling can't find a tea type of that name. (Plenty of tea-smoked ducks, though, and the odd duck-shaped teapot.)

Given accent issues, what could we have mistakenly heard as being duck tea? It tasted like a fairly standard green tea type of tea but worked well as a dinner accompaniment.
posted by thoughtless to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
duck -> buck -> bluck -> black? Perhaps it was just black tea?
posted by Grither at 7:42 AM on April 23, 2010

I've heard people refer to black tea as 'dark tea' once or twice.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:00 AM on April 23, 2010

You could also have heard a "I have no idea what they are asking or what the answer is but I'll say something and hope they accept it" answer.
posted by fydfyd at 8:03 AM on April 23, 2010

Here is a list of Chinese origin green teas sold by my favorite online tea vendor.

Although I'm having a hard time making any of them sound like Duck. Green Pekoe maybe?
posted by COD at 8:16 AM on April 23, 2010

If you were having dim sum, the tea was likely to be Pu-erh - the waiter probably said "black tea" since it is not green.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Re-read - didn't realize you said it was green - in that case I don't know what it might be.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 8:47 AM on April 23, 2010

Upon googling Chinese dark tea, it seems they were probably saying "dark tea" which is most likely a pu-erh tea.
posted by wondermouse at 8:57 AM on April 23, 2010

most likely a pu-erh tea

That would be mighty expensive to just sling out to every table for free wouldn't it?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:17 AM on April 23, 2010

I've eaten there many times, and unless you ordered something specific, they serve pretty standard jasmine tea.
posted by piratebowling at 9:20 AM on April 23, 2010

Pollomacho, there's pu-erh, and then there's pu-erh. The cheap stuff is available in just most higher-quality Chinese restaurants if you know to ask for it.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:31 AM on April 23, 2010

I'm at a loss as well. If you said "Ducking" I might have guessed some version of Ti Kwan Yin - since T/D depends on dialect.

Aside, if you're not a tea expert, but just want better tasting tea in general, the usual mistake people make is over-brewing tea. If you play with cooler water and decanting after 10-15 seconds, you might find a lot more very tasty teas you didn't realize were that good.
posted by yeloson at 12:42 PM on April 23, 2010

No idea really. Common restaurant teas include green jasmine, oolongs, and sometimes rice tea (green tea with popped rice). I've never had a pu-erh in a restaurant and blacks are not particularly common.

We could probably tell you what it was if you told us what it tasted like and what color it was instead of how it was pronounced.
posted by chairface at 12:54 PM on April 23, 2010

I'm following up on the rice tea with a link, since it is the one restaurant tea that most American diners are not familiar with.
posted by chairface at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2010

Thanks all for the input! As I said, I'm no expert, but the SO says it was more sweet and smooth than a green tea. I'll see if I can get hold of some jasmine and pu-erh and run some experiments ...
posted by thoughtless at 2:22 AM on April 24, 2010

In case you aren't aware, jasmine tea is just green tea with jasmine flowers. So it would make sense if you thought it was green tea and he thought it was sweeter and smoother than green tea. I've never heard it referred to as "dark tea," but piratebowling has eaten there and said they serve jasmine, so that's a good possibility. Oolong tea is another dark tea, but I'm not sure if it could be described as being smoother than green tea. You should probably try some oolong tea also, just to try it. Tea is good!
posted by wondermouse at 7:48 AM on April 25, 2010

Well, one trip to the tea shop later, it appears that it was simply jasmine tea (or something very very similar). My lack of basic tea knowledge shames me, but I'm glad to find another drink I like!
posted by thoughtless at 12:41 PM on April 26, 2010

I'm glad you liked the tea so much, and were able to track it down again. I love that place, and I make my damndest effort to go there every time I'm in NY.
posted by piratebowling at 7:36 PM on April 27, 2010

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