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February 10, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4B - Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 1B
The tea room is a place where
many professors and graduate
students come to work. It also
holds tea tastings and semi-
nars, as well as baby and brid-
al showers. Though TeaHaus
doesn't serve traditional meals,
it provides a light menu of treats
from all over the world, includ-
ing scones and truffles actually
infused with tea.
"It's there so people can enjoy
a little food with their tea as
opposed to get some tea with
their food," McDonald said of
the menu. Her aim is to keep the
focus of her business on the teas,
which she has made sure are the
best of the best.
While the store certainly has
a solid constituent of loyal cus-
tomers, employees are more than
happy to teach novices about the
wonders of tea.
"We really like to look at our-
selves as a place to come and not
just drink a cup of tea, but get
informed," McDonald said. "We
spend a good 20 minutes with
new customers just explaining
to them some of the myths about
tea. You basically walk out with a
bag of tea and a mini-lesson."
The love of tea shared by
McDonald and her staff pervades
the entire nature of their busi-
ness, and they want customers to
feel the same way.
"We just enjoy that people are
curious," she said. "(We want)
to let the guys know that it's not
a 'frou-frou girl thing' - it's a
pretty cool beverage. One of the
guys who worked here and just
left was a track and field star at U
of M. It's far more accessible than
people might think we are."
A holistic hippie home
TeaHaus isn't the only estab-
lishment dedicated to provid-
ing quality teas in Ann Arbor.
Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and
Tea Room also takes its teas quite
Originally just a bookstore
co-owned by husband and wife
Bill Zirinsky and Ruth Schekter,
Crazy Wisdom opened its tea
room in 1999 as a community-
oriented establishment.
"(Crazy Wisdom is) a place for
the community to come in and
have something to eat and drink,"
Crazy Wisdom manager Jerri
Dodge said.
Its cozy, warmly lit atmo-
sphere lends itself to the cultural
events that take place there sev-
eral times throughout the week,
including concerts, poetry read-
ings and club meetings. The
shelves are lined with count-
less books on everything from
alternative spiritual practices
to holistic health, and there are
meditation rooms on the second
floor. It's a place where one could

easily grab a book, settle down
in a nice, cushiony chair by the
window and spend an afternoon
enjoying a good cup of tea in an
atmosphere that is a little more
laid-back than the sophisticated
surroundings of TeHaus.
Dodge said the aim of Crazy
Wisdom is to accommodate as
many customers as possible,
whether they be community
members or University students
and faculty. She said it is essen-
tial for the staff to be able to
teach customers about different
types of tea.
"First, Itwill ask someone how
familiar they are with tea - how
often they drink it, and if they
drink it often, what kind. The
most common answer I've had to
that is Lipton," she said.
She lets customers experience
the different aromas, and decide
whether they like single leaf or
blends. Though their blended
teas do not feature much flavor-
ing, quite a few are made with
real berries or flower petals.
"One specific tea that has
been a tea room staple is a Victo-
rian Earl Grey with lavender and
rosemary," Dodge said. "It's one
of our biggest sellers."
Other popular teas feature
dried raspberries, strawberries
and rhubarb, as well as more
vegetal flavors. Although a drink
made with flower petals may
sound odd to many, Crazy Wis-
dom attempts to make things
easy with its vast variety of teas
and accommodating nature of
the staff.
Crazy Wisdom's food menu is
more extensive than TeaHaus's
and features bakery items like
cupcakes and macaroons as well
as international dishes. It serves
around 125 black, green, rooibos,
white, oolong, herbal blend and
single herb teas as well as cof-
fee. Some of these teas are single
estate, meaning that they come
from a single area of land (as
opposed to the common blend of
leaves from different geographi-
cal areas).
The criteria for selecting these
teas are very high. Dodge takes
great care in choosing which teas
will round out Crazy Wisdom's
menu. She generally buys from
about four different tea compa-
nies and one herb company -
she is currently in the process of
searching for a new company to
buy from after one of the estab-
lishment's regulars went out of
In selecting a tea company,
Dodge carefully reads the menu,
sources all the information about
the company and then asks for
samples for the staff and owners
to test from the companies that
seem good. She is also careful to
research the history of the estate
the tea is coming from. So far, she
has investigated eight companies
and received 'samples from three
- none of them have made the

But for Dodge, the appeal of
the Crazy Wisdom really comes
down to the environment.
"The community orientation
of the owners and Crazy Wisdom
staff makes it one of the most
comfortable businesses I have
worked at," she said.
Great balls of boba
For a tea experience that is
even more accessible and fun,
look no further than Ann Arbor's
bubble tea shops. Very differ-
ent from a European-inspired
tea room, bubble tea shops like
Momo Tea and Bubble Island
embody tea's fun, playful side,
with their Asian tea recipes that
feature tapioca "bubbles," also
known as "boba." Boba consist
of tapioca roots cut into circles
and cooked in water with sugar.
The end result is a slimy, marble-
sized bubble that can be sipped
through a straw.
Momo Tea supervisor Mary
Emma Young, an LSA junior,
has worked at the store since its
opening about a year and a half
"Bubble tea is really popular in
far-east Asia and southeast Asia,"
Young explained. "For Taiwan
in particular, it's gourmet and
traditional - the way we drink
mochas and lattes here is kind
of how they drink bubble tea,
but it's geared toward younger
people a little bit more, given the
color and the novelty."
Though bubble tea is relatively
foreign to the Midwest, the large
population of international stu-
dents in Ann Arbor has created
an advantageous market for plac-
es like Momo Tea.
"I've had a lot of Taiwan-
ese customers come in and tell
me that they feel like they just
walked into Taipei, which is real-
ly great to hear," Young said.
All of Momo's tea is brewed
and blended by hand in the store
under the close direction of man-
ager and Taiwan native Angie
Thai. The menu is seemingly end-
less, with huge amounts of flavors
including green and milk teas.
"There's lots of flavors inspired
by fruits that grow in that area in
the world," Young said. "In Tai-
wan, mangos are like apples in
Michigan, so mango is a really
popular flavor."
There are also some less popu-
lar features in Momo's tea, which
Young said might seem odd to
American taste buds.
"In East Asia, red beans and
green beans are used to sweeten
things. It's a basic feature in des-
sert, kind of the way chocolate is
here. I brought a burrito into a
shift for dinner and to (my man-
ager) that was like a hamburger
with chocolate on it."
Young recognizes the creation
of bubble tea as an art, due to the
meticulous training period each
employee must undergo to make
teas that meet the store's high

From Page 3B
made it his goal to improve
recruitment and revitalize the
program's social life.
Latin Scrabble, Jeopardy
and translating exercises are
a few activities the group does
at weekly meetings. Larger
events include a traditional
Roman feast, which was held
in December.
"It was at my house and
each of the students were
each responsible for part of
the meal," said Robin Axelrod,
the Classics department's pro-
gram coordinator.
Students found the recipes
for each dish in an ancient
Roman cookbook.
"The banquet was a really
cool way to experience the
ancient culture, the classical
way of life," Heiden said.
Events like this give the
department character and
allow faculty and students to
get to know one another.
"It's a great combination of
class and experiences because
you have this mix of students
who would never meet each
other otherwise and they end
up forming these incredible
bonds," Soter said.
According to Heiden, profes-
sors know their students well
in the LSA Classics depart-
ment. In contrast to other
LSA lectures, courses within
the Classics department have
no more than 20 students - a
characteristic that lends itself
to one-on-one contactbetween
students and professors.
"It's such a small depart-
ment, so if you're talking with
a professor about your inter-
ests, they'll suggest other
faculty you should interface
with," said Malcolm MacLach-
lan, an LSA junior majoring in
classical language and litera-
ture. "You never have trouble
getting recommendations -
there's an entirely different
mindset to it."
It's this mindset that con-
tinues to breathe life into the
Latin language and distin-
guishes the program from oth-
ers. Soter noted that although
the language has remained
static over the years, its value
has never diminished.
"I don't think you can say
(Latin is) artificially con-
structed or used, because
people have spoken in this
language and written it con-
stantly," she said. "Christo-
pher Columbus's discovery of
the New World was written in
this language."
Within the University of
Michigan, Latin isn't bound
to the page. It's alive in games,
feasts, plays and travels. And
most importantly, it's alive in
the minds of young students.

at Crazy Wisdom and Momo Tea (SALAM RIDA/Daily).

"I really appreciate my man-
ager's drive to produce a really
authentic and high quality prod-
uct, and I'm really inspired by
how she wants to convey her cul-
ture," she said.
Unlike at a traditional tea
house, bubble tea drinkers have
more control over exactly how
they want their tea to taste.
"You can really make your
own beverage here," Young said.
"We really give our customers a
lot of freedom to make choices
for themselves. It can be over-
Fortunately, employees are
happy to make suggestions, and
they give out alot of samples.
Young said the shop is a great
place for students to stop in and
get some work done, which many
people do between classes and on
the weekends. While the store
features brightly colored orange
and green walls and Asian chil-
dren's toys and stuffed animals,
there is also a bookshelf stacked

See a multimedia piece about
thisstory on MichiganDailycom
with literature, newspapers and
even board games.
Slurping up some slimy bub-
bles along with tea may not sound
appealing to some, butYoung has
some good reasons for people to
give ita try.
"I think everybody should try
something at least once," Young
said. "You don't have to get bub-
bles in anything. But if they're
willing to try it, they will prob-
ably love it... it's definitely unique
and it's a lot of fun."
When it comes to tea, Ann
Arbor has all degrees. Whether
a sophisticated, European expe-
rience, a hippie-esque feel, or a
tea shop that looks like it's been
imported directly from Asia, tea
drinkers are bound to find some-
thing new. And in walking in to
try it, they'll not only get a nice
cup of tea, but an education as

Fantastic February ~ U iverst U
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Corner TV Lounge 7-9pm
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Free healthy tastings from 11am-1pm and daily specials all week
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