Song Tea & Ceramics is a tea store and project lead by Peter Luong in collaboration with a small team in San Francisco and a network of growers and ceramic artists around the world. The beautiful tasting room and gallery is opened all week, except Monday, on this day they enjoy drinking the tea themselves.
Each year, they assemble a collection of traditional, rare and experimental tea from China and Taiwan. They’re looking for skillfully crafted leaves from clean growing regions – teas with structure, texture, and complexity. More importantly, they want every tea in the collection to be delicious.
Every tea has his or her own story. This makes the tea even more special, knowing the story about the origin and the journey to find this rare kind of tea.
Like the Oolong tea Buddha's Hand, a tea with notes of dark chocolate, black sugar, and malted barley.
It's traces its origins to Fujian Province's Yong Chun county, arrived in Taiwan by way of settlers who planted the cultivar in the tea region north of present day Taipei. The popularity of other cultivars soon eclipsed Buddha's Hand, and it is now quite rare in Taiwan. You can read the full story at the website of Song Tea & Ceramics.
China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea—the four countries most often associated with East Asian tea—have established tea cultures that are hundreds if not thousands of years old. That long history has created a very solid tea culture with tea appreciation around flavored and blended teas.
In the Netherlands and in the most parts of Europe the tea cultures are very thin. In Europe we are learning more about tea and the interest for tea is definitely there. But this rich culture and respect for tea we do not share yet. Stores like Song's and Paper & Tea bring the tea cultures of these countries a little closer to home. So slowly we can learn and enjoy a proper cup of tea. And hopefully the Dutch tea culture will be more than just a cup of Lipton's Earl Grey.