Pinky Pie

Uncle Gee & Me

Posted on: October 15, 2010


Tea for not Two but Two Hundred (or more)


You gotta love Uncle Gee.

Simply glance inside his Vital Tea Leaf in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Uncle shouts, “sit down!” You do as you are told.

He then explains that this is not a teashop, but a teabar because the nearly 80-year-old is there to teach you about tea, not to sell you anything.

You are welcome to buy tea and assorted other tea-related stuff later – he said  you should never buy tea without tasting it first. (Take that Lipton teabags.)

So we did sample. And we listened. Twice. After Dick and I stopped there on Wednesday, we had so much fun that we brought daughter Maggie and her husband Mike the next day.

When we told Uncle that we would be back with them, he promised a little show. He lived up to it, telling Mike that his people would track him down if he ever did anything to hurt Maggie. I don’t think Mike would do anything to hurt maggie, but we didn’t provide their address – or ours – just in case.

During our visit(s) we sampled eight different teas, although the store has something like 200 different ones, all with supposed benefits for health.

To make his point about the “VitalUncle asks his guest to guess his age – and if you guessed particularly low you get a kiss on the head. He is 78 and most guess he is no more than in his 50s or early 60s.

His secret? He works out every day AND drinks two different teas for health, including Angel T, which he said cured his wife’s cancer. That tea is a bit bitter but his son, Ming, said I have to build up to it. He gave me a few ounces to take home with me to try that.

Other teas improve energy, concentration and focus, or reduce anxiety. As I wrote this, I drank Blue People tea, which is supposed to improve energy, concentration and focus. I looked away only a couple times since I started drinking it this morning to check out things on the web. That would be a major improvement in MY focus.

Not wanting to believe everything I heard, I decided to go to the source of great knowledge on the web – Wikipedia to learn about the health effects of green tea. It said, Green tea has been claimed[2] to be helpful for atherosclerosis, LDL cholesterol, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, liver disease, weight loss, neurodegenerative diseases, and even halitosis.

I went farther to the American Cancer Society, which had articles that there is growing evidence that green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The Mayo Clinic website on green tea said that more research is needed about the relationship between green tea and cancer. Other benefits also need further study, even those with preliminary indications of benefits.


No, not me in this photo. It's Uncle Gee with Maggie and Mike (on his best behavior).


Mayo did note the story Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, “who tore off his eyelids in frustration at his inability to stay awake during meditation while journeying through China. A tea plant is said to have sprouted from the spot where his eyelids fell, providing him with the ability to stay awake, meditate, and reach enlightenment.”

I don’t want to be enlightened that much, but a magic elixir would be nice.

Call me lucky or someone who listened intently to Uncle, but my relationship with him was upgraded from niece to daughter.


The Naturally Curly Haired Little Girl (OK not so little).



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