It’s a Great Time to Be a Tea Fanatic

As a child in a Turkish family, drinking the pleasure of a cup of tea was a perfect end for my entire day, whether it was finishing a quick breakfast before school or an ever-changing family dinner. As a first-generation American whose families are from countries that love tea, like India, Japan, China, Vietnam, and beyond, make their most treasured traditional rituals into full-time companies, I find it difficult to hold back my excitement every evening as I make a pot of tea. Here are some of my favorites, bringing modern life into one of the oldest drinks.

Alaya Tea

Esha Chhabra and Smita Satiani founded their company, Alaya, in September 2019. “Back in 2016, I had the opportunity to visit tea estates in Darjeeling,” says Chhabra, whose family originated from Kolkata. “These growers are going through a lot with the shifting monsoon and changing rain patterns.” The co-founders get Alaya’s products from women from Darjeeling who pluck them and then roll them.

Us Two Tea

From jasmine, a stress-reducing herb, to beautiful, woodsy, yet smooth baozhong (Taiwan’s most well-known tea variety), Us Two Tea founder Maggie Xue sources all of her products directly from farms throughout Taiwan. These biodegradable corn fiber bags contain many positive mood and immune system leaves. Sip the black tea and witness the gorgeous color of ruby red, seemingly out of thin air. You’ll be thankful in the future.


Catherine Jue is the proprietor of the San Francisco tea shop Tekuno, a specialist in high-end Japanese teas. The shop “doesn’t treat customers like babies”; their taste buds enjoy a delicate sencha with notes of roasted tomatoes, warm milk, and pea shoots. A new storefront is close to Golden Gate Park; Jue organizes monthly tastings and sells ceramics from local and Japanese artists.

The Qi

Through The Qi, Lisa Li, who immigrated from Beijing at the age of 14, shares refreshing teas that are made using edible flowers, such as the blue lotus chr, chrysanthemum, and sakura flowers, All of which are sourced directly from farmers who are sustainable in China. “We’re the counterpoint to coffee culture, with its hustle and convenience,” she states. “This is very much about taking a few minutes in your day to enjoy something beautiful and joyful.”

If you’re Lisa Li, dunking a tea bag from a supermarket into a mug and thinking that’s all it offers is as consuming a hotdog while thinking, “Oh, this is what Wagyu is.”

The Tea Lover’s Tool Kit

Bloom Glass Teapot

Lisa Li collaborated with homeware designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen to create the handmade teapot featuring delicate ball feet and a funky handle. Place a flower in it and watch it slowly brew and blossom.

Small Glass Cups

With hand-painted gold rims, these miniature tasting cups are stylish and practical.

Kotodo Hand-Laquered Tea Canister

Tea leaves are delicate and require sunlight, humidity, and moisture protection. These containers look elegant while protecting precious cargo. They can also be used to store coffee beans or other spices.

Asahiyaki Hourglass Timer

It is crucial to have time when you are making a good pot. This timer is 90 seconds. It is ideal for Sencha. Alternatively, flip it around to create the you in the pool.

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