Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Easily the coolest place I found in Austin was Pango: pan-Asian resturant with a fantastic selection of teas, each served in an extravagent way. As much as I wanted to try one of the many "Cha" selections (which are served in a traditional Chinese manner), paying over $10 for a cup of tea seemed a bit much even for me. Were I on a date, however, that'd be my pick. Anyway, after much deliberation, and some consultation with the manager, I decided upon the Taipei Garden -- a fruity, flowery tea served with honey in a glowing glass teapot set over a burning candle. Though I'm not normally a fan of fruity teas, and didn't care for it without the honey, with a dab of the sweet suger it was wonderful. I sat drinking many cups and enjoying the music for a long while.

Speaking of the music, the South by Southwest festival was in town, and there was music everywhere. In this particular location was a band (whose name I didn't learn) of five or so white-college-student-looking guys, playing traditional-sounding Mexican and Spanish music. When I looked up I expected some sort of Flamenco band or something, but found instead several guys that I'd expect to see wearing berets strumming out jazz in some seedy bar. Odd.

Anyway, Pango also has a large menu of cocktails, especially martinis, sushi, and other foods. None of these I tried, however, as the tea was enough for me.

While drinking my tea, I found myself staring at this strange sill standing up behind the bar. At first I thought it was brewing moonshine or something, until I realized that the output liquid was black. Basically, a pot of water sits above a bin of coffee grounds and filter, slowly dripping water through at the rate of about two drips a second. This seeps through the coffee and filter, eventually spinning down the condensation tubes and into a waiting beaker. I'd never seen anything like it.

I asked one of the waiters to explain this strange contraption, and he informed me that it's a Dutch-style cold water drip filter: each drop that falls into the final beaker takes many hours, or even a day, to make it from top to bottom. This slow-brewing method, using completely cold water, apparently reduces the acidity of the final drink, and even (he claims) makes it naturally decaffinated.

I should have asked for a cup, but I was on my way out.

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