There’s Something for everyone at local Asian Tea Rooms
By Kathy Chin Leong
If you love tea like I do, you’ll be pleased to know a proliferation of Asian-inspired tea rooms are popping up all over the Bay Area. With free tea samplings, these liquid havens offer a soft escape from the hectic world whirling around us.
Puripan Tea Garden, San Jose
Savor a hydrangea leaf brew at the first Korean tea bar in northern California. Nestled on a side street in the Santana Row Shopping Center, this five-stool sipping parlor boasts 70 different teas mostly organic, most from Korea. On weekends, owner Ellen Kim conducts tea ceremonies donning the traditional Hanbok Korean dress. Open daily until 9 p.m.; Sun. until 7 p.m. (377 Santana Row #1035, 408/423-8033 ; www.puripanteagarden.com ).
Tea Time Tea Room, Palo Alto
A choice of over 120 loose leaf teas, sweet and savory delicacies, and wireless Internet - the ideal place for techie tea lovers. Regulars keep mugs on a shelf with their names written below. A sniffing station with jars of teas lets you see and smell before ordering. Outdoor/indoor table seating for up to 32. Open daily until 7 p.m.; Sunday until 6 p.m. (542 Ramona St., 650/328-2877 ; www.tea-time.com ).
Teance Tea Room, Berkeley
One concrete circular tea bar. Fourteen seats. Sixty-five loose leaf teas. Groovy. Taste flights of tea as you would savor wine in this happening tea room that also provides tea classes. Store also sells teawares, books, and DVDs on the same subject. Open daily until 7 p.m. (1780 Fourth St., 510/524-2832 ; www.teance.com ).
Samovar Tea Lounge, San Francisco
This artsy zen den offers Russian, English, Japanese, and Chinese tea service. All leaves are organic and fair trade, hailing from family farms around the world. Open daily for brunch, high tea, lunch, and dinner. Sanchez St. location open until 10 p.m. daily; Howard St. open Sun-Wed until 8 p.m.; Thurs-Sat. until 9 p.m. (498 Sanchez St., 415/626-4700 , and 730 Howard St., 415/227-9400 ; www.samovartea.com ).
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