Ying Wu and Haymen Da Luz Aroma Tea Shop
San Francisco, CA
Although patrons of the Aroma Tea Shop refer to Haymen Da Luz as the Tea Man, opening the shop in San Francisco was actually his wife Ying Wu’s idea. The Da Luzes had been running a cell phone store in Burlingame, California, and Haymen would make frequent trips to China to import cellular accessories. The couple always made sure to stop by local tea houses to enjoy “a nice cup of real tea,” until one memorable trip when Ying Wu remarked that they should try to bring the “uniqueness and profound beauty of tea drinking” to the United States. And thus, the idea of the tea shop was born, and the couple has never looked back.
Haymen describes the Aroma Tea Shop as a tea tasting utopia, with a custom-designed tea bar where customers can sample teas for free. As the Tea Man, he holds tea shows and combines comedy and facts to teach patrons about the health benefits of tea and the proper way to brew it. The couple still travels to China multiple times a year, although now buying and sampling teas has become the purpose of the trips. The shop has been so successful since it opened in 2005 -- in addition to having a strong online presence at AromaTeaShop.com -- that the Da Luzes opened a second San Francisco store.
Best-selling teas: Blue People oolong -- super-sweet tea with a licorice-y aftertaste
Milk Aroma oolong -- milk-scented oolong that tastes creamy and sweet
Tie Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess) high mountain oolong -- high-grade unadulterated tea from the mountains of Fu Jian
Favorite part about owning a tea shop: “Being able to drink real, good tea all day is like being in Tea Heaven. I love when I have the chance to turn a serious coffee drinker into a tea lover after sitting and drinking tea together for an hour.”
Recommended tool of the trade: Gaiwan -- a porcelain cup with a lid used for brewing; perfect for oolongs
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