Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Phone number (808) 941-5500
I think I go through at least five cups of tea every day. So most of the time, I wait until Yamamotoyama tea is on sale at Longs Drugs, and then stock up on boxes and boxes of hoji-cha (roasted green tea).
Every now and then, though, I like to indulge in the finer things, and for that I visit Lupicia. Located on the ground floor of Ala Moana Center across Nature Republic and not far from Centerstage, Lupicia never fails to make me feel a little out of place — but in a good way because it’s so fancy and fun.
Light shines brightly in the store, giving it life and appeal. Tins full of loose-leaf tea line one wall, and are so perfectly uniform it’s instantly eye-catching. Throughout the store, other accessories are showcased in a neat and sparse fashion — things like dainty teacups and pots, and shiny infusers that really are irresistible. (Trust me, I nearly bought a whole set the last time I stopped in.)
It’s a little like being in a museum, but don’t let that deter you because waiting inside is a selection of tea so grand it’s worth it. Plus, the employees are always so down-to-earth and incredibly helpful.
If it’s your first visit there, I think the easiest way to settle on what to sample is to think about what you usually like to drink. Maybe all you know is that tea can be green or black — and that’s OK, because though the variety at Lupicia may be grand, it’s all rather simple to navigate, as everything is marked and color-coded.
You’ll still be able to find basic options like Darjeeling and Earl Grey, but I think a trip to Lupicia warrants leaving with something special. There are fruit-infused teas with flavors that reveal hints of everything from strawberry and lychee to peach, my personal favorite because it’s so light and pleasing to my palate.
There also are wellness blends and others with fun names, such as Happiness, which features a mix of rose petals, marigolds and green rooibos, scented with grapefruit and peach. It tastes very much like what its description implies — flowery and fruity — and I imagine it’s even better over ice (I’ve only had it hot so far).
Of course, the best thing to indulge in is perhaps the blooming flower tea. There was only one in store during my last visit, The Mari Felicity. Scented with jasmine, the tea itself was light and fragrant. The biggest draw here, though, is watching the tea blossom as it brews — an experience I highly recommend to anyone, just for the fun of it.
SAMPLES Enjoy a little taste at every visit
ACCESSORIES So many options
PRICEY? Not too bad; a bag of 10 tea bags is about $8-$9