My pursuit of teas has led me to a couple of worthwhile destinations in the past week:
Mitsuwa: Ito En
First stop: Mitsuwa Edgwater’s Kodawari Fair, where I spoke with Allen Liu of Ito En. Ito En’s display at the fair was well manned, and a good place to view and sample some of Ito En’s teas. If you would like to learn more about Okumidori, Kabuse, and other Japanese teas, the team at Ito En can help. Better hurry though, as the fair ends Sunday 22 Feb.
In fact, Allen described the education program within Ito En that ensures their staff are knowledgeable of the subtleties of Ito En teas.
My other stop took me to Radiance Tea in Manhattan. Serene, Ben, and Allie (spelling ?) were charming, and provided a friendly, welcoming experience. Serene spent time studying TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), and also learned from the tutelage of a respected puer connoisseur in Hong Kong. I look forward to the debut of their online tea selection.
Another advantage of Radiance is their steeping policy. So many places want to steep a pot/cup of tea and then discard the leaves with no recourse to a refill. Radiance treats you as if you bought the leaves, and allow you to get that second pot. This is a godsend, especially if you are drinking a wulong.
Which raises an important question–
When you want to feel, smell, and teas before shopping online, where do you go for those experiences?