Song Tea & Ceramics: A New Tea-Tasting Room in SF


This post was originally published on Remodelista

Nestled among the Victorians of San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights stands an unassuming tea shop. The delicate white typography on the window is enough to draw a passerby to peek inside. But it’s the warm welcome and the shop’s peaceful ambiance that makes you want to spend an afternoon tea tasting. 

Before opening Song Tea & Ceramics, Peter Luong worked in the family business, Red Blossom Tea, a business in SF’s Chinatown that Luong’s parents opened 30 years ago. Today, the company supplies many of the city’s restaurants and cafes, and the success of Red Blossom Tea led Luong to recognize a need for refinement in the industry. Much like the best wine-tasting room in Napa, Song Tea’s mission is to create an elegant environment for sampling and purchasing what Luong describes as “vibrant, high-quality teas that are hand-picked and crafted, and sourced in small batches.”

 Luong has “always been a fan of clean-lined, simple design: midcentury modern and Japanese and minimalist design. Song Tea & Ceramics is an amalgamation of those influences.” Shown here, a Fukushu kumquat sits in an untreated wood frame alongside handmade ceramics. 

 The teapots are made from Zisha (which means purple sand in Chinese), a clay found in the city of Yixing in China’s Jiangsu province. The process of making these pots is labor intensive: the clay isn’t easily molded and the ceramicist must hammer it by hand. And because Zisha wares are unglazed, they retain trace amounts of tea from each use, creating a more complex flavor over time. It’s important to limit the use of each tea pot to one kind of tea. 

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