Well the search is on. Looking forward to my plan of opening my own herbal apothecary, tea shop and clinic, I am looking through teas to have an idea of what to offer. What level of tea should I offer? Is my plan to be more of a tea merchant offering the finest teas or on the other hand be more of a tea shop offering lower grade teas? I think the best thing is to offer a selection a bit above a company like Teapigs so the casual customer would be catered for instead of the expert as such a person would really look at more direct sourcing for teas online.
Here's a initial idea for a tea list :
Huang Shan Mao Feng
Silver Needle white tea
Wu Yi oolong
Tie Guan Yin
Green Snail Spring
Flower ball tea
Pu Erh (probably sheng pu)
I'm sort of envisaging clear glass pots so people can see the leaves and be curious in them, tea tables and posters on the wall providing information on each tea. These posters can be shrunk down as well to make up the bulk of the menu.
But where to source the tea? Obviously each step marks the price up so I should try to source as close to China as possible. Supply will be an issue. People will be served each tea in shop and then also have the chance to buy it loose to take home.
Today I'm drinking various loose teas from Teapigs to decided whether that level of tea is good enough in my mind to be sold in my shop. So it's teas in the region of £4 per 50 grams, but just how good a tea can I get for that sort of price? Let's start with Teapigs as it's to hand and then compare it to online sourced teas in a similar price bracket from China. Just a small amount of research gives me shocking results. Teapigs Mao Feng looks dry, dark and fragmented. After brewing it's reasonably green and it's a reasonable but average cup. Mao Feng is called 'fur peak' in English and there is no fur on this tea, it almost looks fermented when loose. Compare that to tea directly from China which is green and furred, well.. I'm am expecting a big difference in taste. The proof is in the pudding though!
I shall be ordering a low grade tea and see how it fares. It's going to be fascinating finding out!!!!
The broken leaves of Teapigs Mao Feng