For a Zen online shopping experience, it’s hard to beat Song Tea, an e-boutique specialising in rare teas from China and Taiwan and exquisitely handcrafted ceramics.
Whether you’re a casual tea drinker or a true connoisseur, Song Tea provides an illuminating insight into the harvesting process and individual growers, as well as tasting notes. The leaves for Dragonwell green tea ($88 for 2oz, pictured), for example, are picked from a garden in rural Zhejiang, a mountainous region known for yielding leaves with essences of watercress and sunflower seeds.
Many teas are unique to the site, such as Gold Peony White ($22 for 2oz) from Fujian province, a light, floral blend with notes of orange-blossom honey, and a wide array of oolongs, including Lishan Shuixian ($50 for 2oz) and Shan Lin Xi Winter Sprout ($36 for 2oz), for which leaves are shade-withered, roasted and later baked.
The site’s selection of ceramics currently includes those by Taiwanese and Chinese artists, but plans are afoot to introduce those by US makers too. Subtle, elegant designs include hand-thrown bowls ($80 each) in a white and turquoise glaze and irregularly shaped stoneware vessels including the Qing Hua bowls ($350) in a cobalt and shino finish, which encapsulate designer Song Jin’s principle that “a perfect circle takes many forms”. Over 15 clay teapots ($180-$289) are studiously minimalist, and as per Song Tea’s instruction, only one tea type should be used in each pot as the character of the leaves permeates the clay over time.