Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mago Merlino and his tea world

On the way back from visiting the tea shop that I mentioned in the previous post, I stumbled upon this little establishment:

Mago Merlino Tea 
The manner in which I found it was a bit like something out of Lewis Carroll...almost felt like it sprouted up out of nowhere while I was still teadrunk from a bit earlier. While taking photos from outside, there was a gentleman lurking ominously outside. Turns out he was the proprietor of Mago Merlino Tea, and I was in for an experience.

Here's a bit more about the fellow in his own words:

As he says, 'My name is Rocco Raffaele Jacopini. Some people-they call me "Bellino". Some people-they call me "Mago"...magician, you know? Because when they enter this place and they go to the tea house, they breathe a kind of atmosphere of the long time gone...I want to show my little touch of class. Imagination. Fantasy. It's very important.'

This guy's fantastic. If he were a teablogger, I'm sure we could get him to be a 
Beast of Brewdom.

The little shop above is at: Via Matteo Palmieri, 21/r. But I don't find that anywhere else on the web (thus my surprise at it's very existence). Instead, I think he wants you to come to the Mago Merlino Tea House which you'll find at: Via de Pilastri, 31/r. You might want to call ahead (tel. 055/242 970), because I'm not sure when exactly the tearoom is open.

I went there this evening, but imagine my disappointment at its darkened, shuttered entranceway. There's quite a lot written up about this place on the web, and it looks like a lot of fun there.

Maybe next time I'm in Florence, I'll get to check it out.

The best part of finding Mago at the shop was the tea he had on offer. After showing me some very delicious smelling Tie Guan Yin leaves that I balked at buying, he measured out a nice amount of what he called King Oolong. I had very low expectations of this tea when I brewed it. Boy, was I wrong.

I brewed it and brewed it and brewed it again. This tea was sturdy and delicious and a very nice, delicious Oolong. Seven infusions and that same fresh vegetale flavour that makes some tea obsessives focus exclusively on this sort of tea.

Here I was thinking I would be penalised for not buying the top-shelf tea he offered, but instead I walked away with an unforeseeable gem of an unknown tea. I'd regularly buy tea from Signor Jacopini were I living in or near Florence. And I'm sure he has some stories to tell. Both stories of the tea-related as well as the non tea-related varieties.

quite a selection of tea ware

One more view of this tasteful little shop


  1. This place is beautiful! I think I could spend time in it, just absorbing the atmosphere.

  2. It really was a different world in his little shop. You can't see it in the photo, but there was a 'make tea not war' sticker displayed prominently as you walked in.

  3. The rabbit hole spots are usually the best!! I'd love to visit this one.