Although the US is known for its hip coffee houses, traditional tea from the Eastern hemisphere is gaining popularity and making its mark on the East Bay. This guide to East Bay tea houses will help you find the best cup.
Imperial Tea Court
This cozy tea house is tucked away in Berkeley’s Epicurious Garden, free of any street noise or sidewalk distractions. The tea menu is extensive and authentic and includes delicious fermented pu-erh varieties. On the shelves you’ll find delightful teaware, like traditional clay pots shaped like pigs, blowfish, and melons. Whether you choose to sit inside through the beautiful arched doorway or in the patio next to a fountain, you’ll find a moment of calm. Be sure to try the hand-pulled noodles in their flavorful broth.
Imperial Tea Court, 1511 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 540-8888
Far Leaves Tea
Located on San Pablo Avenue, Far Leaves Tea is by far the best tea house to get lost in a book. The faint sound of running water from the fountain and the bamboo mats create a masterfully tranquil ambiance. Each table is set up with its own kettle, and their staff will instruct you on how to brew multiple infusions of each tea on your own. The most popular brews are White Silver Needle, Purple Bamboo Green Tea, and Dong Ding Oolong. The Far Leaves original blends, many of which are organic, are available for sale alongside sweet treats. Learn more about the art of brewing tea on the Far Leaves Tea Blog.
Far Leaves Tea, 2626 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 665-9409
Asha Tea House
This hip tea house brings a bit of zen to bustling Downtown Berkeley. The founders of Asha Tea House believe that there is a cup of tea out there for everyone, whether it’s a simple whole leaf infusion or a sweet milk tea blend. Asha sources teas from China, Japan, India and Taiwan. Try their matcha (stone ground green tea) for something authentic, or their Kumquat Green for a tangy kick. ‘Asha’ is Taiwanese for ‘someone that enjoys life’ – a good motto to drink tea by.
Asha Tea House, 2086 University Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 549-9137
Pardee Home Museum
Though it may seem unexpected to enjoy a high tea service in a museum, the Pardee Home Museum provides visitors with an authentic British tea experience. English Breakfast is the tea of choice, and it is served with cucumber or smoked salmon sandwiches and exquisitely tiered dessert trays. The tea service is volunteer-run, so there are limited spots and a reservation is recommended. The price of the high tea service includes a tour of the historic 1896 house.
Pardee Home Museum, 672 11th St, Oakland, CA, USA +1 (510) 444-2187
A’Cuppa Tea is an ideal spot to sit and relax in Oakland’s Elmwood Neighborhood. Most of their teas are sourced from China. The most popular green tea is a Jasmine variety, and the most popular black is Assam tea with milk. Sit on their comfy chairs to enjoy a cup with a friend, or watch the world go by on College Avenue.
A’Cuppa Tea, 2992 College Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 848-2032
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