Thought I’d finally make a post about this place.
I’ve been showing up for several weeks now, and it’s quickly becoming my favourite physical storefront. It makes me miss Tealicious painfully.
I enjoy the storefront. It and Tealicious have very different looks, but very similar (personal) feels. I’m chronically awkward in small, personable shops, but I’m getting better (I hope) (I assume everyone I meet thinks I’m off; social problems), and I’ve even been in to sit down and have tea at their bar a few times.
Oh yes, they also have a tea bar on top of their tea-to-go.
SOKO’s a very traditional-turn-modern themed tea shop, carrying a lot of mostly Japanese pots (side handled are popular); of Chinese ware they have a small selection of gaiwans and yixings, and a single puehr knife for sale.
This is well-reflected in their tea bar experience, which offers (check their site) a gong fu and senchado setup; it appears as if they have a yixing dedicated to each of their puehrs, which you then use when you sit down. With senchado you use one of their side-handled teapots, and they also offer any tea in a gaiwan, (for these three options you’re given a tea tray, the utensils, and unlimited hot water) as well as offering to serve you one of their matchas whisked in a chawan.
One of the distinctions I LIKE about SOKO, is that they don’t call their sit-down-matcha “Chanoyu”, which is very sensitive to the fact that Chanoyu is a very specific ceremony and not a simple method of brewing tea.
Another fun fact: I brought up shinobi-cha with them a week or so ago, and after explaining what it was, I was invited back to give it a try; they charged me for senchado, but supplied icecubes instead of hot water.
So. If you’re in the area, want to try shinobi-cha/practice how to handle a gaiwan/practice techniques with yixing teapots, I’d definitely recommend showing up. Shinobi-cha isn’t on their menu, but try asking for it anyways. Say AJ sent you.
As a last note: the side-handled kyusus they use for serving are porcelain (I understand higher-iron content pots are more favoured for shinobi-cha, as are handleless houbins and shiboridashis), and the serving gaiwans are glass (which I’ve found are trickier to handle than porcelain).
Great for teaware, and other interesting knicknacks like chopsticks and bento boxes, bowls, Moleskin notebooks, postcards, artwork, and a solid selection of Tea Books.