|Naivetea's owners, Lawrence Lai and Ann Lee.|
The Bay Area is steadily, quietly becoming a nexus for premium Chinese and Taiwanese tea in America. The owners of Teance, Far Leaves, Imperial Tea Court, and Aroma Tea Shop all travel to Asia to tour plantations and buy directly from farmers and master tea roasters.
One of the newest tea companies, Naivetea
, is still without a retail shop. The online vendor came to the public's attention this summer when it launched Kettle Whistle
, a series of tea and pastry tastings held with William Werner of Tell Tale Preserve Co. (R.I.P.
Owners Lawrence Lai and Ann Lee were both born in Taiwan, and Naivetea specializes in Taiwanese oolongs -- the fruity, aromatic blue-green teas with the hauntingly sweet finish that fall somewhere between green and black teas. They can be as delicately floral as Naivetea's wen shan bao zhong
, or as kale-deep and toasty as its dong ding
. Yesterday, SFoodie talked to Lai about Taiwanese oolongs and the future of Kettle Whistle.More »