Well, I ended up choosing to drink the “Yunnan Fancy” at Peet’s. Peet’s, for what it’s worth, has reasonable tea especially since they’re primarily a coffee joint (as is the case of almost all American caffeine drinks establishments, with a few exceptions like Tealuxe).
I’ve tried this Yunnan Fancy three times now, and it’s not a bad red tea (I don’t call it black tea because it confuses me — in Chinese classification this is a red tea). The Yunnan Fancy is a mellow, slightly smokey red tea with a reasonable “bite” to it. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure if I were drinking some weird tasting Puerh, or if I were drinking some funny red tea. I asked to see the tea leaves today to confirm, and it is indeed a red tea. A red tea is one that does not ferment beyond the time it was made, but a black tea, to which Puerh belongs, does. The tastes are distinctly different, and nowadays the better places and more discerning companies are beginning to distinguish between the two, often classifying Puerh as a “Puerh” tea instead of just your generic “black” tea. This is a welcomed change.
Speaking of caffeine drinks establishment… the worst of all is Starbucks. I don’t care how their coffee is like, since I don’t drink coffee, but their “tea” selection is atrocious. They only have Tazo teabags, which is already a bit of a sin since Tazo makes funny “teas”. The only real tea among the usual selection at Starbucks is the “Awake”, which is some sort of breakfast blend, and Earl Grey. The China Green, I suppose, is also a real tea, although to be honest green tea in a bag always tastes nasty. Starbucks can’t even have the decency to put Tazo’s acceptable Darjeeling into their tea lineup, which really disappoints me. I will put up with it more often if they have the Darjeeling there. Tazo sucks, and Starbucks sucks for not offering the one thing decent from Tazo.