Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

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Nov 15th 14 1:58 am
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Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by ghiggz » Nov 15th 14 1:58 am

I'm currently studying in Taipei and I'll be getting ready to leave in about a week so I'm looking to purchase a decent amount of tea to take back to the States with me before I leave. Any recommendations on where to buy the really good stuff? I know Ten Ren is decent, but I'm looking for something a little bit nicer. I've heard that the Wistaria House is a good place to buy some high quality tea leaves, along with Wang's Tea, and Lin Hua Tai Tea Co for more wholesale but still good quality. I'm also planning to head to Sanxia and Pinglin to the tea museum, which should have some decent offerings, right?

In addition to that, I'm looking to buy a high quality Gaiwan. I've heard that Yingge is the best place for ceramics, but can I find some high quality stuff there too? or is it all cheap imports from the mainland?

If anyone has any favorite places to buy tea in Taipei I'd love a recommendation! :D

Nov 16th 14 7:18 pm
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by KongDaWei » Nov 16th 14 7:18 pm

Your plan sounds good for the time you have remaining.
In addition to Lin Hua Tai, there are a few other large volume tea vendors on that section of Chongqing Road you should check out.
I'm not a big fan of the Lin Hua oolongs as their high mountain teas are roasted a bit more than I prefer, but the large shop just north of Lin Hua has two different high mountain selections that I like - and at wholesale prices (the one at 2400 per jin is quite good).
Lin Hua has great prices on clay pots and other tea accessories and has a massive selection of Taiwan teas - that area is well worth a visit. I'd go there first for bulk shopping and then fill in at Wistaria, Wang's, etc.
I've never been happy with any Ten Ren products I've tried - not remotely competitive with the other vendors who have fresher, higher quality teas.

Mar 4th 15 7:55 am
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by Bok » Mar 4th 15 7:55 am

If I may ask: 2400 wholesale what kind of tea was that?
Seems expensive to me for a decent high mountain – or maybe the prices down south are that much better :mrgreen:

Haven’t bought tea in Taipei yet…

Just for comparison’s sake: In Tainan I pay 1800 NTD for some really nice Lishan. By nice I mean good throat taste from the first cup onwards, infusions at least 6 good flavourful ones, before it starts deteriorating.

I haven’t had good Ten Ren tea either.
Someone gave a pack of Chacha Thé to me (Some sort of Dongding style), which was ok, but when I saw the prices in the shop, they are definitely overpriced. You pay the nice boxes and design. Btw similar to their sweets, which are pretty but very average in taste…

Do none of your Taiwanese acquaintances have recommendations? That way is usually best…

Mar 4th 15 10:17 pm
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by steanze » Mar 4th 15 10:17 pm

+1 on Ten Ren not being very good

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Mar 4th 15 10:38 pm
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by guitar9876 » Mar 4th 15 10:38 pm

Ten Ren is like the Teavana of China! hahaha :lol:

Mar 5th 15 2:07 am
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by Bok » Mar 5th 15 2:07 am

Please… Teavana of Taiwan. Not China.

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Mar 5th 15 10:17 pm
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by guitar9876 » Mar 5th 15 10:17 pm

Oops I was thinking of Tenfu... :wink:

Apr 12th 15 8:55 pm
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by mlafranc » Apr 12th 15 8:55 pm

Does anyone have further suggestions on shopping for tea in Taipei? I will be visiting Taiwan for the first time in June. When I travel I like to bring home a tea that (1) I like, and (2) is representative of the country.

My favorite teas are Japanese and Korean greens. Chinese greens are generally a bit roastier than I like. I don't care at all for puerh. Blacks, whites, and oolongs are fine.

I will probably also make a side trip to Hualien, but I'm guessing that the better tea options will be in Taipei.

Thank you in advance.

Apr 13th 15 2:56 am
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Re: Best places to buy tea in Taipei?

by xiaobai » Apr 13th 15 2:56 am

I would stay miles away from Ten Ren. As pointed out above, all they sell is crap.

Taipei YongKang (MRT, Dongmen 東門) area is full of relatively good teashops. But many of them are run by rather arrogant people and, being a foreigner, they will try to rip you off. Moreover, bear in mind that many shops in this area specialize in aged teas, that is, Oolongs and puerh that require deep pockets. The only exception are those near the MRT station, which are more tourist-oriented and sell the standard menu of Taiwan oolongs, some of them "organic". You may want to ask them to brew some before you buy.

Unfortunately, for the kind of teas you are most interested in (Korean and Japanese Greens) Taiwan is not a good place. Better buy on the internet. You can find some Japanese Green tea in speciality shops in Taipei (can't tell you off the top of my head, but I have visited some). However, they are not cheap and the value for the money is not high either.

Regarding Korean green teas, forget it. They are hard to find even in Korea.

However, if you want to buy some decent roasted Oolongs and some black teas, you may try to visit 串門、on 麗水街13巷9號. They also sell some quality teaware made by Taiwanese artists (and some Yixing, but not very old, mostly 90s). The prices are not cheap at all, but you are in Taipei, so better not to fancy any good deals. Also pay a visit to Lin's ceramics studio in the same area. You may want to get one of their gaiwans, they are good value for the money (about NT$1200).

Last but not least, Yingge has a wide selection of pottery and some teashops if you look around carefully. And not all of the stuff they sell comes from the mainland. There are a couple of Lin's ceramics outlets there, where you can get a better deal for that gaiwan. You can also look for some local artists' gaiwan. However, I would recommend that you do not spend a lot of money in an expensive/fancy gaiwan. The chances that you will eventually break it are much higher than for a teapot.