We’ve started a tradition of going to the Teahouse Kuan Yin in Wallingford after meditation on Fridays. I’m so glad to finally get out there, because it’s a lovely little place with friendly staff and great tea. They offer each pot of tea on a tray with a tea cozy, a cup and saucer or Asian-style cup, an hourglass timer, a strainer, and a second pot for decanting more sensitive teas. They have a nice selection of vegetarian snacks, as well. I enjoyed a samosa last night with a really lovely tamarind sauce.
Since we go in the late evening, we tend to pick hojicha and wu wei over more stimulating varieties. Their wu wei is very lemony and soothing for all of those throat-irritating bugs that are going around this winter. I also made the startling discovery that strong hojicha with a generous spoonful of agave tastes a heck of a lot like Sugar Smacks. Dig em!
They also have a wonderful selection of teapots, cups, and accessories. This is the first place I’ve been to that has had gongfu strainers readily available. They sometimes don’t have a lot of pieces with each pattern, but over the course of two visits, I found enough to make a nice little set. There are new cup sets out every time I go in, and they’re often priced at 2 sets for $6. At that price, I couldn’t resist!
My friends won’t be surprised when they see the set, because they know my penchant for the color blue. I absolutely adore the pattern and the blend of colors. I think I will return for more cup sets and the matching gaiwan. Since they didn’t have more cup sets in this pattern, I picked up 4 plain white porcelain sets in order to accomodate more guests at my table.
It’s also worth noting that they carry tiny little padded zipper cases that hold a small gaiwan, about 6 cups, and a pair of tongs. It’s really the perfect travel gongfu set, and it’s compact enough that I’d love to take it backpacking. The matcha kits caught my eye – very generously large, glazed bowls in lovely, deep colors. The price is higher than some matcha kits at $75, but they’re quite beautiful. Also spotted – several pu’erh cakes that smelled great.
And just for fun, you get a picture of our tortie, Gaz, who decided to hang out in the same sunbeam that I used to light up the set while I was taking pictures. It’s really nice to have a little sunshine after the crazy late-winter weather we’ve had.
Teahouse Kuan Yin is at 1911 N. 45th Street in Wallingford, in the heart of the little shopping district there. I wrote about it last June when it changed hands, and I’m happy to report that the previous owner, James Labe, still acts as taster and buyer for this establishment.