Seven Cups offers gracious traditional Chinese tea service in its back room, but many of us never make it that far, because we're hung up on the selection of bulk teas in the front of the shop. They're strictly Chinese, but that's hardly a limitation; the tidy shelves display packages of green teas, oolong teas, black teas, puer cakes, yellow teas and white teas. Every month, a small selection goes on sale, so if you wait long enough, you might get a 20 percent break on that Qilaishan Long Wu (Dragon's Fog) Taiwan Oolong, which would normally set you back $619 for 500 grams. Of course, you can also purchase smaller quantities and less-exotic leaves, as well as the ware in which to brew it, with confidence that Seven Cups and its Chinese tea masters have selected goods of the highest quality.
2. Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N. Fourth Ave., 624-4821, foodconspiracy.org
3. Maya Tea Company, 225 W. Flores St., 918-9811, mayatea.com