Well, this post is tragically long overdue. We have a wonderful tea shop in town, but I haven't mentioned it because, after all, what do you care? You can't visit it.
Because it's local, I tend to forget that they also do online orders. So you do need to know about them!
The place is called Discover Teas. It's run by owner Chris and her tea guru Kenneth. They're both wonderful folks. They both know their tea and Kenneth is the kind of tea resource I love, someone even crazier about tea than I am. Plus, hugs! (I'm a hugger.)
They've recently expanded to a second shop, which meant hiring on additional staff. What I've seen so far of the additional staff gives me warm fuzzies that the quality of my visits will not suffer. (Morgan seems particularly awesome.)
The Williamsburg store is a treat. It's all nice warm tones. It's not overly Asian-feeling, which some tea stores do to excess. And it's certainly not snooty-feeling. Just nice and relaxing. Tea-ware lines the walls. There's a sniffing table in the center of the floor, where you can get a good whiff of, I think, everything they stock. It's much handier than having to continually ask staff to open the big tins. The store also has a lounge area, with comfy chairs and a couch. So, yeah, you can hang out!
But, this is all secondary to the quality of the tea. Happily, the tea is top-notch as well. They have the standards, of course. I rely heavily on their Lapsang. But they also have a nice variety of custom store blends, which make up the bulk of my tea purchases. I'll be posting separate reviews of my favorites in the days to come.
One benefit of a real live shop is that the staff get to know you and get a feel for what you like. That enables them to make valuable suggestions. That's not something you easily get online. Although, of course, unless you live in Williamsburg, or now Newport News, you're stuck with online.
Now, if you have a local tea shop, and I don't mean a chain like a Teavana store, then you should utilize your local shop. (If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, try TeaSource.) But if you lack such a local shop, then by all means order some tea from my friends at Discover Teas.
Which teas? Well, that's the topic of future posts!