I’ve never been more impressed by a tea house and the knowledge of staff. The first time we visited J-Tea it was just a loose-leaf sale shop but Josh could offer free tastings. We sat with him for an hour and learned all kinds of things about tea. My understanding is that Josh makes trips to Taiwan himself to pick out the teas. I think the Wenshan Bao Zhong I got there is still the best tea I’ve ever had. He taught me that I DO like oolongs, I just prefer them on the green side. When we returned to J-Tea a couple years later, the shop was renovated and is now a full service tea bar. A different staffer was on hand the day we went and again we were there for more than an hour, just soaking in the rich tea experience. My husband later bought online the Iron Beauty expensive, but amazing tea. We always make a special occasion out of drinking it.
I’ve become a big fan of this Canadian tea company. They definitely are a modern twist on loose leaf tea. They come up with some amazing herb combinations that can make tea taste like anything from cotton candy to root beer. They also have many fantastic pure and organic teas. I like the milk oolong. The gold rush tea with mulberries in it is a favorite also. They are now making sparkling ice tea, which is another fun take on tea. The staff at the various locations I have been to always are friendly and want to have you smell all kinds of stuff.
The tea room in the upstairs of this old department store is a pretty setting with lovely teaware. Tea service is loose leaf in a personal pot that holds enough for about two cups. As with a typical English tea service, the trouble lies in the inability to remove the leaves from the water before getting to that second cup. The tea was delicious on the first cup but way over-steeped for the second. The staff will add hot water to your pot as well. The food with the afternoon tea menu item was light and delicious.
I’ve purchased a couple teas online and generally find this supplier to be of good quality and price. Their sample options are great for those of us who have too much tea at home! Their electric water kettle is fabulous as it allows you to select temperatures based on the type of tea and is not wildly expensive. I have one at home and one at work!
I was very impressed with this place. Their tea selection is fantastic and can fit all price ranges, up to the very expensive. We bought two oolongs that are both great. I’d like it better if it was a restaurant where I could sit with a cup, but to-go isn’t a bad way either.
I’m very fond of Argo tea. It’s certainly not for the purists out there, but every now and then I like a creative tea latte. They have a lot of great tasting tea combinations (such as White Chocolate Rooibos latte) especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Teavana is a great way for people to become informed and intersted in fine teas but their prices are far above normal for what you are getting. I can get the same tea types for half the price or less from Tao of Tea (taooftea.com) and I would trust the quality from the latter company far more. Nearly all of the teas available for sample in the store are blends so you would have to spend a fortune on multiple teas to recreate what you tried. As far as their teaware, my fiance bought me a cast iron pot and we found it online for half the price. It was returned.
I have visted several times and am usually disappointed or bitter at how expensive the food is considering it is nothing special. The desserts are fancy, yes, but the rest is nothing to write home about. I am typically annoyed by the service, at times standing waiting to be acknowledged after I’ve arrived for upwards of five minutes (one time giving up and leaving). The tea selection is very limited but are generally tasty loose leaf British varieties. Their afternoon tea special is nice with the three-tiered tray of sweets and savories, but it is too expensive. Atmosphere is nice. Scones are good, but not good enough to draw me back.
I like TehKu very much and stop in anytime I’m in Dublin. Their selection is good and their treatment of the tea (steep time, temp etc) is great. Prices are also the best in town based on quality. I bought their “pure energy” matcha individual packets at Raisin Rack but was disappointed they are at least half sugar and don’t acutally give me more energy. Better to just stick with pure matcha.