As their corporate counterparts lurk in low valleys, sifting the scraps of their mass harvest into nylon bags before slapping a USDA organic sticker on attractive packaging and trumpeting health consciousness to the uneducated consumer, the folks on the hill are still doing what they've always done.
It's clear that as consumers become more informed, the demand for quality product increases. With this demand comes profit, red tape, and a departure from the salt-of-the-earth spirit that gave birth to the organic movement.
"The ritual is authentic, healthy, artful," Yu says. "You can't find that in a tea bag."
So what is the San Francisco tea lover to do? At the very least, you can support your local gourmet tea peddlers. From Chez Panisse to El Farolito, the Bay Area is uniquely qualified to appreciate the culinary good stuff. We like it slow, whole, and artisanal, and fine teas deliver. *
1780 Fourth St., Berk.
FAR LEAVES TEA
2979 College, Berk.
IMPERIAL TEA COURT
1511 Shattuck, Berk.
1411 Powell, SF
1 Ferry Bldg., SF
602 Hayes, SF
498 Sanchez, SF
730 Howard, SF
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