Kuura Tea Studio
It’s hard to walk past this white-walled, sunlight-steeped “tea studio” without peering in. It’s the first bricks-and-mortar shop for previously online-only Kuura Tea.
There are a few elbow-height display shelves showing beautifully wrapped teas and locally made ceramic cups, pots and gaiwans (a traditional Chinese teapot).
The walls are decorated with photos shop owner Ayden Graham took of tea plantations in Yunnan, a province in south-western China. At the back, behind a grey curtain, there’s roughly 280 kilograms of tea. Graham travels regularly to Yunnan for spring and autumn harvests of the tea, which he brings back himself.
Puer (sometimes written “pu’er” and “pu-erh”) comes in two varieties: raw and ripe. Raw is the most common. It’s pale yellow and tastes like a strong green tea. Ferment raw puer for two months to create ripe puer, which is dark (it looks almost like coffee), and has an earthy, fermented, chocolaty flavour. Kuura Tea sells five teas, including a ripe puer.
According to Graham, aged puer is hard to come by, and pricey – a 300-gram cake can set you back upwards of $300 – but he often offers a tasting for the studio’s Thursday night tea club. It’s not a class – Graham breaks out some of his more lavish drops to try, and guests are welcome to bring an interesting tea from their own collection to share and discuss.