Finally was able to make the trek to Middlebury this weekend to check out Stone Leaf, and I’m so glad I did. What an amazing teahouse! The owner Jon is obviously very passionate about tea; his selection is modest in number but spectacular in quality. Preparation and presentation were just the way I like it—accurate and respectful brewing, but not uncomfortably formal or pretentious.
The teahouse itself is incredibly intimate and cozy and peaceful. It is very tastefully decorated and the seating is very comfortable. There are a lot of windows so the store was illuminated almost completely with natural light on the morning I visited, which was wonderful. There is also a loft seating area that I didn’t get a chance to check out, but looked very secluded and quiet.
I was fortunate enough to try a Mao Feng from China that had just been processed two weeks before. It was one of the freshest and most refreshing teas that I have ever tried. I hope to get back to Stone Leaf very soon!
I have never been to the Floating Leaves teahouse, but I have ordered tea from Floating Leaves several times. The owner, Shiuwen, is extremely passionate about Taiwanese oolong and her love of tea shows through in everything she does. Every tea I have tried from Floating Leaves has been fresh, vibrant and complex, and it is obvious that Shiuwen only purchases from farmers who appreciate the quality of handmade tea.
While the quality is incredibly high, Shiuwen’s prices are always reasonable (if not downright cheap, especially when she has sales) and she includes free samples and a hand-written note with every order. I love Floating Leaves!
Cha Guan is a small, cozy Chinese teahouse on Monkland Avenue in Montreal. The staff is very knowledgeable and obviously love their teas and perform full gong fu ceremony with all teas purchased. While the menu is a bit limited by only serving Chinese teas, they choose only the best leaves and feature white, green, oolong and puerh on the menu. They also sell their loose leaf teas and have a nice selection of teaware for sale.
Camellia Sinenis is my favorite teahouse/teashop. The atmosphere is peaceful and subdued, but never pretentious; the servers are friendly and knowledgeable; and most importantly, the teas are top notch. From standard green and black varieties to rare aged puerhs and oolongs, Camellia Sinensis is a must-try, whether you’re new to tea or a connoisseur .
It’s truly a blessing to having Dobra in my hometown of Burlington, VT! While it is officially a chain (but with only two other locations, in Wisconsin and the Czech Republic), the atmosphere is original and relaxing and the teas are of very good quality. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, always willing to recommend teas or discuss brewing techniques.
My personal favorite on the Dobra menu is their Yamacha, a roasted high-mountain sencha that is unlike any tea I’ve ever had before. Paired with a delicious mezze plate (dolma, red pepper hummus and curried couscous with pita), it makes for a perfect relaxing day out.