Tracy Monson is the kind of person who gets an idea into her head and then goes for it. In college, she dreamed of seeing the world, then spent two and half years visiting places like Morocco and Sri Lanka. She speaks almost reverently of her time in Japan, where she learned to appreciate the importance of tea to one’s physical and mental well-being. Eventually, she returned to Cincinnati, married to an Algerian she had met in Venice. Later, she incorporated the opening of Essencha Tea House (3212 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-4832) into her MBA program as an “independent study,” allowing her to share her passion while building a thriving business. (Michael Schiaparelli)
CityBeat: Where’d you have your last great meal and what was it?
Tracy Monson: Riverside Korean. I often get the Bibimbap (a traditional sizzling rice dish served in a hot stone bowl) with tofu and vegetables. It’s wonderful.
CB: Back to tea. Settle the debate — is it OK to add cream and sugar?
TM: Of course — if you like it that way. But I urge people to try their tea first before adding anything. Plus, it depends on the tea. Yunnan Gold Tips, for instance, is very rare. Smooth, velvety, with no bitterness. It’s what the emperor would be served, from the birthplace of tea as a beverage. It would be a little like adding ice cubes to a fine wine.