The best tea you can find in the North Bay.
Incredibly knowledgeable proprietor, terrific customer service, great breadth of offerings, great quality and freshness and best prices you can find for any of these.
They specialize in tea from China and Taiwan but offer a few Japanese teas as well. The connections/friends/teachers the owner has overseas coupled with quite a bit of travelling means there is a good number of totally unique special offerings at Tillerman you can not find elsewhere. Moreover, the frankness and honesty as a salesman is refreshing and far more helpful than someone committed to just sell for the sake of profit.
The website gives concise yet detailed descriptions with a touch of history for many of the teas they sell at the shop, but there are more to be found at the physical location. It is a stall-like teashop inside the Oxbow Public Market; a back wall and two half-walls project into the larger room, but it is mostly just carved out of the larger space. There is limited intimate seating that can accommodate four, but there is a larger seating area around the corner, in front of other vendors. The decor is remarkable. Not just good for a stall – it is really classy and well done in dark wood, reds and yellow with large tea canisters, books, and tea wares covering much of the wall space. Tea tables up front allow for on-the-spur gaiwan preparation of teas before purchase and jars are set up with the scented or more fragrant popular teas and herbals for folks to check out. Everything is kept in mind for freshness and huge discounts are applied to outgoing stock for the arrival of fresh tea when it’s coming in or the freshness is starting to wane.
They offer educational tea tastings in a class-like setting, sell tea by the pot or cup, offer light snacks like pumpkin seeds, and have a good range of wares ad good prices for the quality.
Only detriments I can possibly invent about this place is they are small, so if a bunch of people need service, you need to be patient. Look over half the tea menu and your wait is over, though, hahaha.
If you love tea and you are remotely in the area, you need to make a point of swinging by.