I work with the owner of one of FG's competitor tea shops in the area.
Which shop? We're actually on pretty good terms with a couple other tea shops around town where we recommend them and they recommend us. It's nice because we're pretty geographically spread out so it isn't as cut throat as it could be.
There is one place however...
I think there is too much of an emphasis on what tea you should be drinking. When people at the tea house ask us that question (and it comes up a lot, actually) we compare it to wine. Drink what you like, not what someone else says you should (snobbery is rampant in this industry.)
A few years ago, a woman read an article about the smokey qualities of Russian tea and even though she doesn't like that flavor, she felt compelled to order it. We brewed it, served it and Michelle watched as she cringed through each sip, forcing herself to enjoy it.
Anyway, we generally use two primary vendors (Harney and Sons and Adagio) to stock the tea house and supplement that with teas we pick up when we travel. We've been very pleased with their selection and quality and I think the public can order online (or *ahem* through a family owned tea shop).
If you have a sensitive palate, you should try to monitor the water temperature since that will affect how the tea steeps/tastes (especially on more delicate teas.) Basically, full boil is good for black and oolongs, slow rolling boil (about 180F) is good for heartier greens/whites, and a very slow boil (160F) is what you want for delicate greens. Probably more important than temperature, though is steeping time. That does depend on the type of tea, but generally it is Green: 2-4 min, black/white/herbals: 4-5, Oolong 5-7.
One thing you might want to have fun trying, Poncho, is blending the loose teas.
Oh, and buy some of http://www.amazon.com/T-Sac-Tea-Filters-Size-1/dp/B0000CGQC1these
to use steeping loose teas. You won't get any floaty bits, it allows space for the leaves to move around and, if you compost, I hear they are lovely additions.