Best Asian tea shops in Los Angeles?
We are relocating in the Spring to the Los Angeles area and when visiting, I often buy my tea at Wing Hop Fung. Since I am, for all intents and purposes, a good Asian tea addict, does anyone have suggestions for other cources of good quality teas? I'm not crazy about flavored (EU) type black teas and prefer good oolongs, pu-erhs, "red" and greens.
Thanks in advance!
Just a couple new options in town:
A woman from the tea tasting group I'm in is opening her own tea shop! I hope that mentioning it here doesn't run afoul of ch policies; I am obviously biased here, but I think it will be a great place for Chinese tea in LA. I am familiar with at least one of her suppliers, and I think she will manage to bring some teas and teaware of a quality that isn't (as far as I know) available at any shop in the LA area.
Grand opening on Saturday, and a grand opening party the following Saturday.
Worth checking out. I also hear good things (from a reliable source
)about this place (haven't made it over there yet, even though I live
pretty close now):
owned by a taiwanese couple; supposedly have some pretty good teas.
I don't know if it's still there (I'll check next time I'm in the area), but the old threads below suggest Valley Tea in San Gabriel for Taiwanese teas (though apparently their Long Jing / Tie Guan Yin etc. are the Taiwanese versions).
In the San Gabriel Valley, there is some stuff. My gf's grandfather gets his tea at TS Emporium, which is somewhere over there, and there is Wing Hop Fung (as you mentioned). You have to know what you're looking for, but they have an Ok selection.
I really don't like either of the Ten Rens I've been to - expensive, pushy, and I haven't actually gotten any tea there, but they don't seem to have a great selection.
It's been mentioned in some other threads on this forum, but check out Bamboo Tea Garden - they have one in Pasadena and one in Claremont. Not too bad.
I like a lot of the same teas, and usually either get tea when I'm out of town or do mail order -- but I've purchased from the sources mentioned above as well.
The Tea Gallery in NY, while a bit expensive, does mail order, and the owners are very knowledgable and nice (just visited there when I was home for vacation and bought some stuff - they will prepare tea for you so you can try stuff and so they can get an idea of what you like). I've purchased stuff from Yunnan Sourcing LLC (on Ebay) - this hasn't arrived yet. Also, haven't done business with him, but Stéfane (from teamasters.blogspot.com) does mail order and will send you a price list if you email him.
Have you been to the various Ten Rens in Los Angeles? They carry a lot of teas from Taiwan and China. Try the high mountain oolong from Taiwan; I've hooked many a friend on that particular type of tea, and Ten Ren's variety is fine.
They have tons of really cheap teabags in boxes if you just want to try a lot of new things. I think I once bought a sale-priced grab bag for $7--five boxes of twenty bags each. Prices go up from there into the hundreds.
I haven't found very many places in LA that compare to online orders...would you consider ordering online? I have found Teance to offer some extremely good oolongs; my current favorite is their Honey Dan Chong Oolong -- very sweet with a honey tone and dark color. I also like their Cold Summit Tung Ting Oolong.
As I am sure you know, it is important to pay attention to their seasonal offerings. If you call them, they can advise you: in Berkeley at #510.524-1696. (I have found Alyce to be very knowlegeable and helpful, although she is on vacation for the next couple of weeks.)
If you prefer an LA shop, I would suggest Le Palais des Thes in Beverly Hills at 401 N. Canon Drive (#310.271-7922).