I visited Goldfish Tea on a whim. I happened to be in the area and stopped in to see what they had to offer.
They’re in a nice location, no parking out front, but you can head around to the side and it’s not a very lengthy walk. Once inside, it’s very cute. A mix of urban and Chinese style. There are tables scattered throughout the surprisingly large space. One wall displays the (somewhat dusty) tea sets for sale. There is a large variety, not just the traditional Japanese style, but more modern teaware as well.
I don’t get out this way too often, so I picked up two different teas: the elusive pu-erh and the osmanthus oolong. Both were prepared with the tea in tea sacs so that I could resteep them as desired. I allowed both to steep for about 3 minutes, then pulled the sacs. I was really impressed with both teas. (Reviews under the teas themselves.)
Overall, this was a really nice tearoom. (They are now selling coffee as their sign out front proclaims.) The woman who waited on me told me that they do tea tastings, three teas with three steeps each. You only need to call a day in advance to schedule it. It sounds like a lot of fun and I, for one, will give it a try one day.
I visited the TeaHaus (literally just around the corner from the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum) with my family in tow. Determined to check it out, we quickly walked the short distance to the TeaHaus. It’s in two small store areas, so together it makes a nicely divided tea house.
On one half you can peruse and order teas, of which they have an entire wall full of very large tea tins, about 170 or so, I believe, either by the bag or prepared hot or cold for you. There’s also a kitchen for some light fare, but as today is Sunday, that part wasn’t open. There are also a few tea pots, tea cups, travel mugs and other tea accessories scattered about. I saw some Earl Grey lollipops that I wanted to try, but didn’t get a chance to reach. There’s also a small seating area for family who shouldn’t be near glass teapots, etc., to wait. My two small children sat there with my husband and checked out Miss Spider’s Tea Party. (Too cute, by the way, to think of the younger guests who would be visiting… already a plus in my book!)
On the other side of the TeaHaus is a seating area with tables and chairs for people to relax while enjoying their tea, or whatever light snacks they might have ordered from the kitchen. It’s clean and ultra-organized. Really cool. We weren’t staying, so I didn’t spend too much time in that area, but it looked very comfortable and the tables certainly weren’t on top of each other.
The staff is very friendly and very helpful. No snobby people to deal with, which is really nice when you’re trying to look at all of the teas and your children are arguing over who gets the book next. We were able to smell all of the different teas we were interested in. (All of us.) Everyone was kind and chatty, but not intrusively so. I didn’t feel pressured to hurry up and just make a choice and the salesperson even offered a few suggestions of tea I might enjoy based on the ones I was asking to smell and look at. There was a couple next to me who was new to tea and the man who was helping them was patient and answered every question they had, including what kind of cup he should use, how hot the water needs to be and whether he needed to add tea leaves or water first. (A true beginner who fell in love with the cup of tea he had there and just needed to have some for home, too. He ended up buying a teapot, cups, tea – at least 10 bags – and everything else he needed to get started.) I loved listening to the back and forth questions and hope that he loves everything he purchased.
Overall, I had a excellent experience. It’s a very nice, friendly and relaxing space.