I'm familiar with tea sold at markets like Nijiya, Mitsuya etc, I am also familiar with Lupicia in Century City. None carry the quality I remember even in a neighborhood store in Tokyo let alone the fancier ones in Kyoto (such as Ippodo).
On this board I've seen references to Haru in Encino - but that's the only one (and a bit of a trek from the west side).
How come it is so much easier to find great Chinese and Taiwanese tea in specialty tea shops in LA but not so for Japanese tea?.... Perhaps - as with any other precious product - the good stuff is kept for local consumption. Still....
I'm thinking that now is a good time to look for shincha, (the new - spring - tea), which should be getting to our shores about now - allowing for a two week delay from the Japanese "season".
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