Taiwan tea company, and related chain of stores, with branches in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, among many other places.

Few shops are as immersive an environment as a Ten Ren: the street and sidewalk outside can be filthy; the Ten Ren, to the very last inch up to the sidewalk is immaculate. It goes without saying that everything inside is bright, new, clean, and stamped with Ten Ren's psychotically cheery logo. Similarly, the sales staff seems to be on amphetamines (or is it just contact high from the tea?): the second you come into the door, no matter how busy the shop is, you'll be a) greeted by one of the staff as if you're an old friend, b) given a cup of whatever tea they're brewing that day, and c) hungrily asked whether you're looking for something in particular, and if so, whether you might want to add to your purchase a few other small items? (To their credit, they also leave you alone when asked, politely.) Adding to the general wild excitement is the Tea Board in front, which has chalked-up and often updated market prices for top-of-the-line teas from Ten Ren's plantations in Taiwan and the Mainland. The shop sells tea, of course, "bubble tea" (with tapioca, haven't tried yet), some ginseng products, and also tea sets for the Southern Chinese style of tea drinking made from Yixing porcelain. Prices are, generally fair-to-low, if you aren't buying something from the board. Go if you like tea, even British tea (with sugar, cream, and so forth). Go if you don't like tea, and soak up the madness. You'll thank me if you do.

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