Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Tao of Tea

The Tao of Tea – Leaf Room

This is the second half of the Tao of Tea’s original location. The Leaf Room is their brick and mortar store location. The store itself has a very wide variety of teas and teaware. It is a combination of loose teas, prepackaged teas, and teaware. There was also a small tatami mat area as well as what looked to be a counter that could have been used for sampling teas. It had an assortment of items on it so it didn’t look like it was being actively used to serve tea.

The teaware selection was very eclectic at this store, it consisted of teaware from all over the world. It had English style teacups to yixing teapots to Mate Bombillas. Their Japanese teaware selection was small, but more varied than I would have thought. They had a few tetsubin, tokoname kyusus, and matcha bowls. Most surprising was the full arrangement of the accessories for Chanoyu, I haven’t seen many fully rounded tea stores offering natsume.

Their tea selection was rather vast, but at the same time they were out of a lot of their teas. This was a very good sign considering the time of the year, they were out of a lot of the spring harvest teas saying they were waiting on the new 2008 harvest. Pricing for teas was offered as prepackaged in double lidded tins, where the tea is vacuum sealed, or packaged from their stock tins on a per ounce basis. They also had a surprising number of puerh teas, including one which was probably a two foot wide cake.

Loose teas were packaged either in small plastic lined roll down bags similar to those you find in the grocery store for coffee beans, or small plastic lined paper coated Ziploc bags. This seemed to depend on the volume and crushability of the tea in question. Prepackaged teas were vacuum packed and then placed into double lidded tin cans.

Rating: 8/10

Conclusion: Considering that it was a rather small store they had a rather varied selection, yet covered a lot of different bases. The store like the tearoom was rather dark, and the staff could have been a bit friendlier. I’m eager to try the teas I picked up to see what I think of this brand in general.

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