I should preface that I have only been here once (too far from my house), and that was at least a year or two ago, so this rating might be wildly inaccurate in either direction.
I was very excited when I saw this tea shop had opened, especially because it’s not in a particularly “yuppie” area of town where you’d expect a high quality tea shop (it sits comfortably alongside a Lebanese owned pizza joint, a Subway, an independent shoe retailer and a bar in a little strip mall).
When I walked it I was immediately struck with a strong sense of…authenticity? The place is small, well designed and maintained, but with a very unpretentious feel (something I find many tea stores lack).It was staffed only by a youngish-looking Asian woman who had her adorable son with her reading a Japanese picture book. She (who turned out to be the owner of the store) was friendly and incredibly helpful in guiding me towards teas she thought I would enjoy based on a few questions about the flavours, strength and type of tea I liked. She obviously knew her stock inside and out and was able to give wonderful (but very accessible) descriptions of the teas properties.
And then…the samples! Out of the teas I found interesting she chose 2 or 3 and brewed me up a little sample cup (before I even realized what she was doing!). As a cautious buyer (aka poor student) and tea newbie I was very appreciative of this extra step towards making sure I left with a tea I knew I’d enjoy. I ended up selecting two of the teas I’d sampled (it’s been a while but I think it was a vanilla rooibos and a caramel chai?) and getting about 100g of each. The owner was very tactful but could tell I was a newbie and wrote out by hand the best way to prepare each kind (sooo helpful back when I thought tea only came in a bag!).
Overall, I was very, very impressed with this little shop. It’s got a lovely homey feel, a large selection of what I now realize was high quality loose leaf tea, and an owner who combined a great deal of knowledge about her teas with excellent customer service.
Damn…after rereading this review, I’m definitely going to take a drive back soon!
I should note: This store also had quite a selection of teaware (pots, cups, infusers etc).