Best Tea Shop - 2004
Ten Ren Tea Company of San Francisco, Ltd.
419 Eccles Ave.
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Big canisters of loose-leaf oolong, pouchong, and tung-ting line the walls of this spacious Chinatown tea emporium, where the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis shrub are proffered in several aromatic varieties. Everything from your basic black tea ($5.60 per box) to a pound of primary-grade loose-leaf wu-yi ($144) can be found on the premises, including the semifermented Iron Goddess of Mercy, the green Osmanthus King's, and the earth-red post-fermented pu-erh. Organic teas, herbal teas, and teas flavored with fruits and flowers are available as well, and there's a wide selection of ginseng in root, capsule, and powdered form for sale and consumption. A counter up front sells hot brews and tapioca concoctions, and every now and then the traditional tea ceremony is performed at an elaborately set table in back. Check out the nice selection of sturdy or delicate teapots, teacups, canisters, trays, and pouches, too.