Music City Tea
1113 Murfreesboro Road, Suite 405 • Franklin, TN 37064
615-775-8053 • musiccitytea.com
In a small, self-effacing shopping center in Franklin, Tennessee, the simple yellow letters that spell out “Music City Tea” don’t prepare customers for the agglomeration of teas and wares for sale that await them. Once inside the shop, patrons are welcomed by the almost overwhelming sight of bags, jars, and containers full of tea that line the walls from floor to ceiling, along with display cases and shelves stocked with a variety of wares. While there does not seem to be any order to how things are placed, owner Jenny knows exactly which tea is where, and it is her mission to help those who wander into her store understand and locate the perfect tea for their tastes.
When owner Jinlan (Jenny) Zhong moved to the United States from China’s Fujian Province more than 10 year ago, she brought with her a suitcase full of tea and wares. “When I came to America, I found no tea shops,” Jenny remembers. “I kept looking for a source for good tea, but all I could find was sweet iced tea. I said to myself, ‘This country needs a tea shop badly.’”
A third-generation tea grower, Jenny, who already owned a tea shop in China, used her family’s tea-growing knowledge and her own expertise of the beverage and tea ceremonies to open Music City Tea. Since 2013, Jenny has provided customers with a unique and interactive shopping experience.
In addition to the more than 200 teas sold in the store, Jenny offers free tea tastings, which include a hands-on tea-ceremony demonstration. A long table in the center of the store displays a number of gaiwans and yixing teapots Jenny uses to educate guests on how to properly brew their tea selections and about the culture and history behind the beverage.
According to Jenny, some of the most popular teas sold in the shop are Pu-erh, oolong, and ginger-lemon tea. And if anyone were to question her knowledge of tea, Jenny proves her familiarity with each batch she sells by being able to identify each by smell. “I don’t sell customers tea unless they know about the tea,” Jenny explains. “I want them to learn about the tea they’re going to be drinking, the right time to drink it, and how to make it. There’s so much culture around it.”
Patrons can also schedule a private traditional Chinese tea ceremony for $9 a person, which includes an unlimited tea tasting, Chinese fare, and green tea cake. Music City Tea is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.