I had a lovely experience driving down to SD to see the lady.
Highway's clogged up, I pull off in Fountain Valley. Just off the highway, in a little Sav-On mall, I find a pleasantly lit little store, a tea shop. Stop in and have a chat with the owner. Nice Taiwanese lady, doesn't speak English too well. Specializes in Chinese greens.
But she brewed me a beautiful pot - showed me the full formal Chinese ritual. A very different method from what I'm used to for green tea. More tea, multiple infusions, a washing of the tea, only one minute infusions. Beautiful tea - more astringent than I'm used too, but very flavorful. Also chatted about the differences between various forms of tea.
I'll look up the name when I'm at home if anyone really wants it. Ten Li or something like that.
Anyway - question. Where to buy good tea in the Los Angeles area? This tea shop is nice, but it's in the south of OC, for god's sake.
I've raised this once before. Some people recommended Upton, via the web, but I really like to sit and chat about the teas that the vendor really knows, and smell them, etc.
Some people sent me to Chado by the Beverly Center Mall. I had very good luck at Chado with Indian teas, but found their Chinese and Japanese tea selection lacking. With the assams and the darjeelings and the nilgiris, Chado had it down to different pickings, different estates. And those teas were really excellent. But with Chinese and Japanese teas, they didn't have the fine-grain knowledge or selection, and the teas weren't as really dead-on good.
So - good places for specialists in Chinese or Japanese teas?