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Good tea shops in SF

m
michaelnrdx Mar 18, 2010 10:42 PM

Where in San Francisco can I buy good quality tea leaves for a reasonable price?

  1. moto Mar 19, 2010 12:44 AM

    Red Blossom on Grant in SF chinatown sells top quality, whole leaf teas in bulk (weighed to order). 'reasonable' varies with context and the individual buyer, but they're very reasonable in price relative to the quality. The range of teas include aged pu-erhs, and hand rolled, heirloom oolongs. They'll seal your purchase in a soft airtight/lightproof bag; if you prefer a hard container they have a few for sale.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moto
      Paul H Mar 19, 2010 09:06 AM

      Another vote for Red Blossom. I've been to many tea shops in the Bay Area, and this far and away the best. Red Blossom is family owned, and has been in Chinatown for over 25 years. The senior Mr. Luong started the business, and it is now run by his children. Red Blossom is an importer of tea and has direct relationships with growers in China and Taiwan. When you buy some Spring Longjing Supreme you can be sure of the provenance and quality, as Peter (the son) was likely at the tea farm during the harvest. You might buy some Jade Kuan Yin Reserve Grade and be interested in how it was roasted. Peter can tell you, as they import and roast their oolong teas. The teas are arranged on the wall in families (White, Green, Oolong, Black) and by oxidation and roasting within families. You can learn a lot about tea just by studying how the canisters are arranged. Great store with great teas sold by great people.

    2. d
      DavidT Mar 19, 2010 05:53 AM

      Leland Tea Co. on Bush Street, between Van Ness & Polk.

      http://www.lelandtea.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT
        farmersdaughter Mar 19, 2010 08:52 AM

        Second Leland. Great service and I love the Bogart blend.

      2. v
        vulber Mar 19, 2010 06:14 AM

        If by reasonable you mean you get what you pay for, I'd recommend Samovar. That being said, it's probably the most expensive tea in SF

        1. t
          tomatocanner Mar 19, 2010 12:07 PM

          Aroma Tea Shop (6th Ave. at Clement and Polk Street at Jackson) is great if you are looking for Asian tea. The owner, Haymen, gives an excellent and entertaining description of all his teas. The last time I visited the Clement shop, his wife said that he was spending his time at the Polk Street shop, and it is definitely worth seeking out his knowledge. I haven't been to the Polk shop, but the Clement shop offers generous tea tastings. I assume the other shop is similar. The tea is very high quality.

          1. t
            TenderNob Mar 19, 2010 02:52 PM

            If you do web order, try Freed Teller & Freed at freedscoffeetea.com. They have a reasonable variety including Assam and Ceylon, which the Chinese shops don't carry. Prices for most blends run about $15 a pound plus Express delivery mail.

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