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As a keeper of six ducks at home, how could I not order the oolong tea named Duck Shit Dan Cong? The irony: It tastes more mild, closer to a soft green tea than a pu’erh tea we add-on to our ornate, tableside gongfu tea service. The pu-erh being fermented, it evokes pungent barnyard aromas, like true animal poop on the first steep, gradually mellowing from field to leather-rich tack room by the third steep and somewhere into a grassy meadow by the fifth.

Simple Teas owner Josh Miller originally launched as a kratom vendor and this shop, established in its current form in 2018 (attached to his wife’s spa and soap-making business, Soap Korner), still features a large retail counter of kratom offerings.

We take home a Red Lau blend for our first experience of the much-misunderstood medicinal leaf, finding it much more palatable than we were warned to expect, and actually delicious when mixed with coconut milk with spikes of stevia and cinnamon (my own experiment). It’s quite matte-like with hints of kava that I find pleasantly stimulating.

And I’d say the same about hearing Miller explain the lore of the duck shit tea: basically some villagers keeping the secret of their prized tea by fabricating a story about how the yellow-brown soil in their gardens came from duck poop, not the natural terroir that gifts the tea its wild, unique flavor. I’ll never look at my own perpetually fertilized backyard the same.

Food & Drink Editor

Matthew Schniper is the Food and Drink Editor at the Colorado Springs Indy. He began freelancing with the Indy in mid-2004 and joined full-time in early 2006, contributing arts, food, environmental and feature writing.