How do we source our teas? We go to the source, we talk with tea people and drink. A lot.
But sourcing for tea isn't just about collecting tea. We are always communicating with farmers, roasters, and drinkers to make sure we can bring back what's best for the shop and for you. What finally makes it on our shelf is a long process but the most important thing is having tea together. Learning from others and giving feedback makes for better tea.
Our palates and how we drink is different. We found that our Western customers generally prefer more pronounced flavors. The brewing style is varied as well, from the casual to attentive. When we choose a tea, we're always considering our drinkers. We have to find teas that are good regardless of how you brew them--for the character to shine through and be enjoyable.
We have to consider how our guests purchase tea too. In Asia, its common to buy large quantities of tea. But here, we drink more slowly and usually by ourselves. In Asia, green oolongs might be better because you are always drinking it fresh. But here, our teas have to last longer than a few months. Our four seasons oolong, despite being a green oolong, is processed specially for us to ensure that it still has a remarkable flavor even after a year.
You can't truly communicate without tasting the tea together. Information gleamed from online and drinking alone will take you far. But to gain a deeper understanding of tea, drinking together is important. We invite you to come enjoy tastings with us or come to Tea Making Mondays to enjoy, relax, and appreciate this fine drink.