Thursday, February 28, 2008

CC: Premium Steap

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Premium Steap
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Tea has always been a second love (drink-wise of course; overall it's fourth as God and wife obviously trump coffee and tea) and for many people, a first. Yet it isn't often that you run across a tea establishment, at least not in the Northeast.

Thus, Premium Steap was a lovely surprise to stumble across one night while meandering around Philadelphia. The shop from afar blended in with the rest of the 18th St venues but when one stood in front of it, the store displayed a beautiful storefront complete with a very sharp awning. At the time it was closed, but I could see that the shop had numerous canisters of tea and from what it looked like, a bar from which to sample the tea.

But it wasn't until about a month ago that I actually got to stop in and try it. It was a blustery afternoon and I was with friends who graciously allowed me to stop in real quick to check the place out. The interior was nice, a bit messy, and the woman (the owner) was definitely amidst a flurry of activity. Also while browsing the teas, for the first time I noticed the complete lack of places to sit and realized the shop was more of a tea and accessory emporium then a sit-down-and-sip-your-tea shop (plus the website touting the former name of the "Wayne Tea Salon", definitely seems to spell out "store").

The owner was helpful (though I couldn't help but feel like she was vibing the "buy something or get out" message as I browsed). She showed me a handful of teas and I ended up taking a cup of black tea to go (which sampled wonderfully; not too tart and with a beautiful body).

While I do want to go back and give some of the other teas a go and maybe take some home, I really can't say I had a great experience (in taking a moment to think about it, I really have to attribute it to the owner's flustered countenance as well as the slightly messy interior). But given the product had nothing to do with the negatives, for now I'm going to chalk it up as a bad day for the owner. The next time I make a stop in will hopefully be a better time; either way, I'll write about it.


Peter said...

Have you tried "Tea Leaf, Inc" at Reading Terminal?

I tried several different cups of oolongs there last year and was impressed by the quality and service. Just a few stools at the booth's bar to sit at, but still very nice.

Anonymous said...

I would agree about the store, owner etc. I was ready to spend a bunch and picked out two teas and was rushed out. I wanted to try more but was already rung up, so I figured I guess that is all I will buy. I went back and got some more and got the same feeling. But atlas, I'll take my tea and go and enjoy at home.