Tuesday, October 21, 2008

White Crane Tea Co.

The White Crane Tea Co. is a rather small tea vendor in Japantown, San Francisco. The store itself is tucked away in a corner of the center so if you don't know that it is there it may be quite easy to overlook. Once you have managed to find the store itself you'll be shocked at the actual size of it. The whole of the store is probably no larger than 5' x 10'. The proprietor though is a very pleasant individual and will be happy to help you decide on any particular tea. Their selection is surprisingly vast considering the size of the store, but yet small by comparison to many other tea vendors. They are very much specialized in Japanese green tea. Their inventory is surprisingly evenly distributed between gyokuro, sencha, and matcha. One individual I heard remarked and seemed surprised that they stored their matcha in a refrigerator. Pricing is not for the faint of heart, most of their teas being on the pricier side of things, the Midori Sencha I picked up being one of the cheapest teas they offered, but not in terms of price per gram(ppg). Other less expensive teas are sold in larger packages. Purchases are very nicely packaged, wrapped carefully, and then decorated and bundled up. To finish it off he decorates the paper with some calligraphy as well, putting thought into what to write for each package. I expect that many of the teas he offers may be quite exceptional, but I think that I will take my time selecting teas to try.

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