Though the Santana Row/Valley Fair area has a number of tea shops – Peets, Fantasia, Teavana, Lupicia, and Lisa’s tea treasures – this place stands out amongst the rest.
I’ve been going to this store since they opened about a year and a half ago, and the access to the quality product here has led me to nearly abandon my previous haunts of Lupicia and Teavana.
Puripan was my first experience with Korean tea, and I’ve been learning a lot more about it through frequent visits over the months. They have a great selection of Korean teas, which I’d have a hard time ever coming by otherwise. The teaware, also, is in the traditional Korean style and comes directly from actual artists, rather than mass producing companies, and I’ve never had anything but the best regards for their products.
The environment of the store is extremely friendly and welcoming, when taking count of both the set up, and the customer service. From their beginning, I’ve liked every employee that’s worked there – they’re a different breed of workers. Whether I’m looking for tea or conversation, I can go in and be completely satisfied. The managers, Ellen and Benedict, are extremely friendly and knowledgable people, and they’ve really done a great job of running Puripan’s first US store.
As far as sampling goes, they’ve got the best deal and attitude in the area. Not only are samples free for any tea, and as many teas as you want, they’re fresh brewed – you ask, they make it right there. While at some other tea shops, it can feel a bit awkward asking to taste a tea, they make it very welcoming there and almost always ask you if you want a sample before you even get a chance to request.
As far as a chain tea shop goes, they’re top notch. An absolutely respectable and reputable place, and if you’re ever in the Bay Area, it’s really worth checking them out – you won’t find them anywhere else in the states.