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Dec 12, 2010 12:05 PM

Best places to buy Chinese tea in Vancouver/Richmond?

Any tea aficionados out there? I'm wondering about which are the best places to buy good quality, reasonably priced Chinese tea leaves. I'm looking in particular for 'iron buddha' for a gift. Thanks!

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  1. Not a tea guy so take this rec with a grain of salt. I like Avenue 18 in Richmond.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Just to clarify, is Avenue 18 now bringing in teas other than the ones from Germany which they specialized in?

      1. re: YVRChow

        Ah see what I mean about not being a tea guy - I didn't have a close look at their teas. I was more interested in their coffee stuff (Hario equipment). The staff is super friendly.

    2. Not aficionado.

      But Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng at the corner of Keefer and Main is an established institution. Dunno about their prices, tho'.

      The "T" Tearoom on Broadway btwn Granville & Fir has been around a long time too. Next to Cookworks:

      1 Reply
      1. re: LotusRapper

        I don't know about best but have you checked out Tea So Divine on Broadway yet, twinkie? Very near you (same block as Yoka's used to be IIRC) and the owners seem very keen. It's open till 7ish.

      2. There are usually Chinese specialty shops in many Chinese malls here. I'm no expert on Chinese tea either, but aficionado can do very crazy about this stuff, so some chops cater to them (and thus can be super expensive, worth more than gold).

        The more average stuff can be found in Chinese supermarkets, and very good in value.

        If it is for a gift, many come in a fancy tin can, and not necessary cost a lot more (by weight that is).

        I have been to a tea shop catered to aficionado because of a friend who frequents that shop. It is also taken as a hobby as well, as they collect the tea pots and old tea etc.

        1. My mother ended up helping me purchase some in Chinatown. I'll post the name of the store when I find out.

          I might check out some of the other stores for non-Chinese teas. "T" looks like they have a nice selection. I hadn't heard of Tea So Divine so maybe I can check that out too. I have been on a big tea kick lately!

          2 Replies
          1. re: twinkienic

            Do, twinkie, and let us know. It is quite a nice little store but I haven't had occasion to buy anything there yet.

            1. re: grayelf

              Caveat: I went by Tea So Divine yesterday at 1:30 and it wasn't open even though it's hours are nominally 1:30 to 7ish so maybe call first.

          2. My favourite place for Chinese tea is Aroma Tea House, on Granville @ 65th (I think) - not far from The Place restaurant. For a gift, I'd recommend their "Honey Fragrant Ti Kwan Yin" (Iron Buddha / Iron Goddess of Mercy).

            Has anyone been to David's Tea on 4th? The selection seems interesting. I haven't made it there yet, though - I have way too much tea already!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ishtar

              Thanks for the tip - I'll check it out!

              1. re: Ishtar

                re:David's-had another one of their samples today and it was the same as everything else of theirs that I've tried-too much going on.

                It always smells better than it tastes and someone somewhere thinks that parallel sweet flavours are a great idea-I beg to differ.