I recently took a trip up to Detroit and randomly came across this truly amazing tea shop in the suburb of Royal Oak. The setting was both relaxing and sumptuous, with every inch covered in gorgeous teaware, asian scrolls and statuettes, hand carved and beautifully stained wooden furniture, silk upholstery, and of course – tea! The space is a great size, with many seating arrangements: cafe tables, raised decks with low tables for sitting cross-legged on pillows, and even big comfy chairs divided by bamboo beads for privacy. Like any coffee shop worth it’s salt there was a small library of books and board games and several framed posters showcasing maps and images of Chinese tea history. The staff was very knowledgable about their teas and also friendly! Finally, when you order the tea, it comes out on wooden or bamboo trays in either beautifully decorated china for black tea or clay tea cups for oolong (maybe glass for green and flowering teas?). You also get a digital timer for your extra steeps, which you can refill at the water bar that has multiple faucets, each gauged to a different temperature specific to what kind of tea you are drinking! They really thought of everything here! A very fun and unique experience…But now on to the teas!
The first tea I tried was the Tie Guan Yin “A” (A and B designated high-grade and mid-grade quality for certain teas). I was very impressed by this one. There was an enormous range of subtle flavors, the most prominent being a light floral taste like the smell of hyacinth and rose. There were some exotic peppercorn notes, as well as other spices like lemon myrtle, eucalyptus and cinnamon floating about in the savor. All of it was all tied together fascinatingly by a sweet umami quality that had individual characteristics like rock sugar, fish oil and tar. I’m sure the latter two sound really strange, but they were not in any way unpleasant – more like a delicate pungency that helped to bond the other disparate flavors, the same way that anchovies work in a Caesar salad. Definitely a new candidate for a sparkling flavor experience.
I tried two other teas while I was there and even brought home a few, so I will have some other reviews for Goldfish Teas coming soon. They have an online store if you are interested in trying and I’m sure with a phone call you could negotiate some of the newer products they have in stock for shipping – such as their Crab Leg Tea, which is not even a tea but actually a parasitic orchid that grows on ancient tea trees!