The first tea shop we visited was a small tea room and bubble tea spot called Paragon. Though I hadn’t heard of them prior, I found them when doing my before-trip research and building a list of shops to visit. The space was really cool! Very modern with lush green and gold colour scheme, and a wall of loose leaf teas available for purchase in addition to their drink menu!
What I found interesting was that, with about three exceptions, all of the teas that they carried in loose leaf for purchase were very traditional straight teas – a lot of Japanese green teas and Chinese black teas, with a few oddities mixed in. Pretty specific region information, and honestly just way more focused around origin than you might assume based on their drink menu – which skewed a lot more towards lattes, boba, and other more ‘novelty’ flavours. I did pick up a couple teas from them, so I’ll get around to those reviews eventually.
Aside from my shopping, I did grab an iced latte to go! Their whole menu is vegan, with oat milk as the default alternative milk of choice. I picked the “Pu’erh Oat Chocolate” as my drink and, to my surprise, it came with a bit of a cautionary statement from the barista that “pu’erh is a very acquired taste – are you sure you want this?”. After assuring her that I did like pu’erh, my drink was made. I’m sure the statement came from past experiences of people not liking their drinks, but I did find it strange to be forewarned given that the bulk of teas they sold were things like Gyokuro, Keemun, and other straight teas that the “baseline” consumer would probably be as equally unfamiliar about as a pu’erh…
The drink was actually very good, though much more overtly chocolate than I had expected and it kind of made me requestion the warning I’d been given seeing as this was basically just a deeper and richer chocolate milk. Subtle earthy kind of undertone, but nothing offensively pu’erh forward. So strange.