Roy at Imperial Tea Court is the rare combination of a tea historian and connoisseur. Through decades of experience in the tea business, Roy built an exceptional palette for tea that clearly translates to his curated tea selection. From his meticulous focus on his oolongs’ moisture levels, to his knowledge on how terroir affects puer flavor profiles, his customers reap the benefits of his tea expertise. As a tea historian, Roy readily shares his knowledge to elevate the tea experience for all of those around him. I learned many fine details of gaiwan practices that helps my everyday brewing, as well as the deeper cultural roots of these tea practices. Through his teas and teachings, one can begin to appreciate the tea practice and the teas as more than leaves; they are connections to the tea farmers and a vast cultural history of a leaf that changed the world.
Your sensibilities towards seasons and teas makes me smile out loud! I just brewed a bit of Imperial White Peony a few minutes ago..wow…wow! I may have to “hock my teapot collection” and just spend it all on your “Imperial” tea choices. The Peony is such a delicate floral I don’t really know how to describe it—and I have NO idea of how to verbally describe the Hao Cha…It reminds me of so long ago when I was a small child tagging along behind my mom out to the “sugarcane mill.”
So, all of this just to say, again, many thanks for everything you are doing to make my tea times so happy!
I remember the first time I walked into Roy Fong’s first tea house in San Francisco nearly 30 years ago. It felt like journeying back into a beautiful traditional Chinese teahouse in China. Almost every Saturday a group of friends, carrying their song birds in ornately decorated birdcages, gathered to drink high quality teas and shoot the breeze. A quintessential tradition found all over China. Roy’s extraordinary love of tea continues to this day, and permeates throughout his place. I love just being there.
I’ve been a customer of Imperial Tea for decades. I went AWOL from them for a few years, during which I explored the world of coffee, but have happily returned to stay. Roy’s obsessive hunt for unique and treasured varieties have introduced me to flavors and experiences I never knew existed. He’ll enthusiastically talk about a tea’s background, comparison to other varieties, how best to brew and always takes the time to answer. Roy has made me feel like a personal friend, not just a customer. I even enjoy being obsessive compulsive in seeking the sometimes elusive magic of one of his unique finds. With Roy and Imperial Tea, I feel like a member of an exclusive club and really look forward to sharing my experiences.