Gary Soup helpfully provided a pointer to a tea shop I had missed:
Natural Tea Shop
1199 Stockton Street (Storefront is actually on Pacific)
San Francisco, CA 94133
This is the smallest of the five shops that I visited, but it has a good representation of green, oolong, red, and black teas. It's a friendly sort of place; the woman sitting next to me was originally from mainland china, but now lives in Concord. She stops by for some tea and a chat in Chinese every trip she makes to Chinatown. I tried two interesting teas here that were new to me: "Blue Tea" and "One-Leaf Bitter Tea." The "Blue Tea" was had very thin thread-like leaves and tasted a bit smokey with hints of eucalyptus. The "One-Leaf" tea is a herbal tea which may also be known as "Kuding Pearl Tea-Jin Liu Tuan" or "Golden Willow Dumpling". It produces a green liquor which is exquisitely bitter. The hostess called it "Chinese Espresso." This is a friendly place, but it doesnt seem to be a place to learn much, as it is so small with a single hostess. I bought some tea and the bag said "Vital Leaf Tea" on it, so perhaps there is some common ownership between this shop and the Vital Tea shop on Grant.
P.S. Anyone have any more insight on what they were calling "Blue Tea?"
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