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Nov 9, 2009 02:27 PM

Best tea shop in East Bay?

I had been planning to make a trip over to Imperial Tea Court on Shattuck for the first time, but I just read a post that happened to mention Far Leaves on College. Now I'm torn - where should I go? I like Chinese and Japanese teas in general, though I'm really hoping to find a good lychee tea right now. Is there any difference in between these two stores? Price, yes, I noticed. Is that a function of local rent costs?
Are there perhaps other tea stores I should be looking into? Where do you, fellow chowhounds, go for your tea needs?

Thanks for your input!

Far Leaves Tea
2979 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

Imperial Tea
1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. Another choice,Teance 4th Street.

    Teance Fine Teas
    1780 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    1. I like far leaves. They have a small but finely chosen selection. My husband loves the Red Lychee tea at Teance. I think they are stronger in green and oolong than black teas. The Pasta Shop has a nice selection of imported European brand teas, in bags and loose. Much better for the black selections. My current fave is the Mariage Freres French Breakfast, followed by the The du Nil.

      2531B 9th St, Berkeley, CA

      1. Ten Ren in Milpitas is a bit south, but a great tea shop.

        Ten Ren Tea Co of Milpitas
        1732 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: LarryW

          I assume it is similar to the Ten Ren the Richmond Ranch 99 Center.

        2. Some varieties of single bush Phoenix oolongs from Canton develop a lychee flavour naturally without added flavour. IIRC Teance sells them.

          2531B 9th St, Berkeley, CA