Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Dream About Tea in an Asian Supermarket, Keurig K-cups, And An Interpretation

Last night I had a dream about tea. I recently published a page on outlining my philosophy of dream interpretation, and in the spirit of this page, I will share an interpretation. The setting of this dream is a place you can visit if you come to World Tea East, as it is right around the corner from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Dream:

I was at an underground supermarket in Chinatown in Philadelphia, one that actually exists, under the building on the SE corner of 11th and Race, and I was buying tea there. In real life, I'm not crazy about this store's tea selection, and there is another store in Chinatown that I prefer for buying tea (across Race street), but in the dream, I was finding a lot of long jing (dragon well) green tea that I liked.

I suspect that the reason for the dragon well tea in the dream is that I've recently sampled two of these teas from TeaVivre, so I have been thinking about this type of tea. If you're curious, you can find my Review of TeaVivre's Organic Superfine Dragon Well, along with my Review of TeaVivre's Superfine Pre-Ming Dragon Well.

Back to the the dream I noticed some dragon well that looked very good in quality (it was a brand that I trusted) and was low in price, but when I put it in my shopping basket, I noticed that it was not loose-leaf tea, but rather, K-cups for a Keurig coffee maker. Frustrated, I put them back on the shelf and was looking through the boxes on the shelf to find actual loose-leaf tea instead of processed tea in a K-cup. There were few boxes of loose-leaf tea, but I found some.

My interpretation of this dream:

I suspect that the reason for the appearance of K-cups in this dream is that I have been reading about tea packaged in K-cups recently, and that I am not a fan of this idea, and have been considering writing a post on this topic. But, as I have yet to write the post, it looks like my subconscious created a story about them first.

In some ways I think this dream is symbolic of my struggle to promote loose-leaf tea, and food culture in general, and the way I often feel overwhelmed by a sea of consumerism, in which the products that I am working to move people beyond, still seem to be the dominant ones in society. K-cups seem to symbolize processed foods for me, as they're more processed than even tea bags, and they represent an even farther move away from brewing your own tea, and towards instant brewing, convenience at the cost of quality and sustainability.

Do you ever dream about tea?

Do you ever dream about tea? What do you think of my dream? Do you share my loathing of Keurig and K-cups?


  1. I think your recent thoughts about longjing and k-cups provided the content of the dream, but I think your emotions provided the context. That is, you are feeling unsure of your expertise, or betrayed by your abilities of discrimination. Which is all too common for Anglo students of Chinese tea.

    1. I definitely think it's a lot about my feelings about a lot of different things.

      I think a lot about globalization and the relationship between China and the U.S., particularly with respect to consumerism. I see China as being somewhat of an extreme and paradoxical sister to the U.S., in that it has this ancient culture that dates back much earlier than most of the traditions in the U.S., and is less broken-up...but then it seems to also be this powerhouse of consumerism, something which I think is sadly destroying both Chinese culture and what little genuine U.S. culture there was to begin with. And I think about this sort of thing on a daily basis, so I am pretty sure this is also a subtext here.

  2. But yes, my original point in replying was to mention that I had a couple meetings with a guy who was interested in a partner for starting a tea bar/coffee shop. And boy, what a nightmare--he was already paying rent on a storefront for which he hadn't yet made buildout plans, which was mid-block in a low traffic residential area near a school and no other commercial activity, with a hugely popular coffeehouse three blocks around the corner. And this guy wanted to use Keurig machines. In a commercial coffee shop. He should have just put a sign outside his apartment, "coffee shop upstairs"!

    1. Yeah...stuff like that is sad. I've seen a lot of businesses that were much better-planned than that still fail within their first year or two.

      On the other hand, there's a random positive story, which you reminded me of by your remark about the sign "coffee shop upstairs".

      I know one guy, a very friendly Puerto-Rican Jew named Abraham (I know it sounds too silly to be true but I swear, I am not making this up!), who lived in Cleveland who was living in a space that had formerly been a storefront, in an economically depressed area. It was right in front of a bus transfer point and there were usually people waiting for the bus. He also knew how to brew up a good he put a sign in the window, Espresso, 25 cents. He'd sell them in the little mini cups...they were delicious. He also played a mean game of chess, which was fun when I was waiting for the bus, and we used to talk about philosophy too. All the important things you would want in a coffee shop, right?

    2. I think there are 2 kinds of coffee shops (actually three if you count the smokey kind in my country, for which we actually use the English "coffee shop". But I never enter those).

      1) The kins where you can sit with friends (or other people) and talk about everything and nothing.
      2) The quick cuppa type. Usually a takeaway, though some have some chairs where people can drink and eat something without talking to others.

      Of course they need to have tea to be interesting at all.