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There wasn’t a drop of coffee to be found at the Shanghai House of Tea when I stopped at the Glover Park establishment at 11 a.m. today. I knew there wouldn’t be, and even if there were, I didn’t think I had the stones to ask for it. It’d be sort of like asking for a T-bone at Java Green.

Instead, I asked the waitress what she usually drinks in the morning. She recommended a pot of Dragon Well. It’s a green tea, which promotes good health, she said. (Apparently the stuff helps keep your arteries open, which sounds like a good idea given all the red meat I eat.)

My tea was steeped in a transparent plastic pot stuffed with a generous amount of the prized Chinese leaves. The waitress poured the liquid into this lightweight, hollowed-out disc, filling it right to the brim. The golden tea, in a way, seemed to complete the clear cup, as if the fluid were an essential-but-previously-missing part of the tiny container. To suck the liquid from the disc struck me almost as a crime against art and nature.

But slurp it I did. The tea’s body was light. Its flavors were herbal and grassy. It tasted a little like asparagus, but not in an unpleasant way. I happily sucked down a few cups of the Dragon Well while devouring my appetizer and entree (more on those later).

No matter how many cups I drank, though, it seemed like I had barely made a dent in my pot of Dragon Well, and the clock kept ticking on my early lunch/late breakfast. With each passing minute, I felt the need to split. Indeed, I was feeling that unique sort of American prole work-ethic panic start to wash over me, and I realized that drinking an entire pot of green tea was not going to work—-at least not at Shanghai House of Tea. I didn’t have the time to linger and enjoy its calming, nourishing, artery-opening effects. I had to blog.

Which meant that I was going to waste a lot of valuable green tea. That pot set me back $8.

And you thought Starbucks was expensive.

Guess where I stopped after I left Shanghai House of Tea?