Lydia Lin and Joe Hsu are steeped in knowledge at their International District store, Seattle Best Tea. One of the oldest tea houses in the city, Lydia and Joe opened their shop in 1996 and have been educating people on the health benefits of tea and providing some of Seattle’s best tea ever since. In addition to selling premium loose-leaf varieties, Lydia and Joe sell bubble tea that lives up to the shop’s name. And if you stop by and have any questions about how to steep, store, or pick the right brew for you, Lydia is more than happy to spill the tea.

Seattle Best Tea Co Products

Seattle Best Tea is one of the oldest tea houses in Seattle. Owners Lydia Lin and Joe Hsu opened the cozy Taiwanese tea house in 1996 after moving to Seattle from Korea. Lydia is overseas Chinese and her husband is Taiwanese, and Lydia previously worked for the Taiwanese embassy in Korea. When the couple came to Seattle, they noticed there weren’t many tea houses in the city. Now, Seattle Best Tea is a destination for a diverse community of folks to come enjoy and learn about tea.
Lydia Lin takes tea very seriously, and specializes in showcasing the highest quality tea from high altitude mountain regions in Taiwan. It is important to drink tea grown at high altitudes, she explains, because pests cannot live at that altitude so there are no pesticides used on the tea plants. In addition the soil quality at higher altitudes is better due to the minerals in the soil decreased pollution.
Tea offers a variety of health benefits, including antioxidants that help fight memory loss, stress relief, digestive aid, and detoxification. Lydia maintains that, "If you drink good tea you will have a long and healthy life.”
Lydia also teaches classes at her shop to educate people about tea. “I want our customers to be experts in good tea,” she says. She helps customers understand how to recognize good tea and how to preserve and prepare it correctly. “One teaspoon of good tea is better than medicine,” Lydia says.
Fun Fact
According to Lydia, teas taste different depending on what time of year they are picked - each season’s leaves have a distinct flavor.
Business Owner
Lydia Lin and Joe Hsu
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  1. I love how much owner Lydia Lin loves tea. She is incredibly knowledgeable, and passionate about sharing the health benefits of tea with her customers. My go-to drink is the high mountain oolong with extra boba. I have also been fortunate to taste competition teas over conversations with Lydia – a real treat!

  2. Seattle Best Tea is by far, one of the friendliest businesses. If they had a catchphrase, it would be, “take your time.” Whether it’s a new or regular customer unsure of fear to order, or a new employee-in-training, you will hear it often. Relax. Everyone else outside is in a rush, but you can relax. Breathe in the scent of fresh brewed tea; the most fragrant tea milk tea in town by the way. And consider what toppings you’d like today. That’s another plus; unlimited toppings!

  3. This is hands down my favorite place for tea in the city! The staff have always been the friendliest, and I haven’t found anywhere that does Oolong better. I always make sure to take visitors here.

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