Here are a couple tea related places worth visiting in Seattle since we are on the topic, forget if I've posted this or not before:
Of course Floating Leaves Tea
- at a new location, small shop, no tables, but you can sit and talk to Shuiwen as she brews you tea, which is better anyway.
Shuiwen is a Seattle tea treasure, be sure to ask her about western brewing styles and what her suppliers have to say about that.
New Century Tea Gallery
- discussed above. It's my preferred source for chinese tea. Very important to ask them for specific stuff and make sure to sample everything. They get a lot of disinterested tourists killing time and it takes a half hour or so for them to figure out that you are serious about tea..
- if you don't have one in your town. 2 blocks from NCTG and Panama Hotel and Tea. Japanese grocery store, has very good tea section and also find the matcha/cerimony counter for decent and reasonably priced chawan and utensils. Even their store brand matcha is decent.
Panama Hotel and Tea
(two blocks up the hill from NCTG) - Good place for a light lunch, their paninis are decent and their teas are good. Mostly it's a pretty cool historic place.
Miro Tea in Ballard
. You have to ask them for gong fu service, but their regular service is nice bodum lechine with a timer and tealight warmer, so that's ok too. Some of the staff isn't trained very well, but the tea is pretty good and the selection is great. Go on Sunday and get the bonus of a great farmers market on the street in front of it. They have some fantastic teas, my usual order is their gold standard yunnan, but most of their higher end teas are good.
Remedy Tea in Capital Hill
. Again, you have to ask for gong fu service and sometimes explain it to them and half their menu is tissanes and flavored tea, but there are some very good teas too there amongst the new age crap. Unexpected selection of puerh, some of it even good. Their WuYi is my usual order. Be sure to specify the water temp, the amount of tea etc.
Teahouse Kuan Yin
in Wallingford. Not the best trained staff, but the teas are good and reasonably priced. Again, you have to ask for gong fu service and then explain what to put on the tray.
Eat there too, you might be suprised.
The tea ceremony in the Japanese Gardens
A ferry ride, don't leave Seattle without one! My recomend is to take the ferry to Paulsbo, there are some britishy tea shops there, a bit touristy and not top quality tea, but beautiful and fun. If you can figure out how to return after dusk coming into seattle on a ferry at night is awesome, but the shops close early at Paulsbo, so beware of that.
Pikes Place Market - 3 girls bakery
, Beecher's Cheese
, Market Magic Shop
, The Great Windup
, (there are more, but if you hit those places you will walk by most others, there is a tea shop in the alley, but I'm not a big fan.)