One of the many origin stories surrounding the discovery of tea says that the emperor of China stumbled upon the drink when leaves from a tea plant fell into a pot of boiling water and he liked the result. In Los Angeles, you don’t have to be royalty to discover a delicious cup of tea.
Photo courtesy of Asia M. Evans
The Conservatory for Tea, Coffee and Cocoa
This mid-sized, independent coffee and tea shop in Culver City is around the corner from the Sony lot. On a typical Saturday morning it is filled with people vying for coffee made from an old fashioned roaster or a cup of their specialty, ‘pirates chai’ tea. A dedicated regular coffee line keep the flow of traffic moving, and the pleasant staff will take your order with a smile. Enjoy a bite to eat while sitting at one of their outdoor tables enjoying the sun and your drink.
Afternoon Tea Celebration at Chado | Photo courtesy of Asia M. Evans
Nestled on Santa Monica Boulevard just steps away from posh Rodeo Drive is this delightfully small tea shop. There is a wooden elephant near the entrance, and to the right of the counter is an expansive wall of tea. Directly in front of the wall of tea is a selection of tea samples that the customer can smell. The owner sources her tea directly with a vendor and has a selection of high quality blends that are as aromatic as they are delicious. You can enjoy a sumptuous bite of something sweet while enjoying the smooth jazz emanating from the speakers.
With locations in Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena this chain of tea houses is a great place to celebrate or sip on a single cup of tea. Their afternoon tea celebration offers patrons a chance to experience ‘high tea’ with a three course meal and pot of tea. Though this is a great fit for groups and parties. Don’t forget to choose some loose leaf tea from their expansive list of hundreds of teas from around the world.
Located across the street from the Japanese pavilion in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles is a small shop with a large selection of teas and crepes. There are over 30 types of tea, including fresh-squeezed juices and boba. There are various trinkets for sale inside the store like plush dolls, 3D models of Japanese houses and Hello Kitty memorabilia. If you’d like a snack with your tea, they offer appetizers like fish cakes and popcorn shrimp, or you can always bite into one of their savory or sweet crepes.
For those seeking an alternative to espresso, look no further than Gunpowder in Venice. Steps from the boardwalk, this small shop sources Guayusa (caffeinated leaves from the Amazon) and serves it in fully recyclable bottles. This freshly brewed super drink can take some getting used to, but it is packed full of antioxidants in eco-friendly packaging!
American Tea Room, Beverly Hills | Courtesy of Bird Pick Tea & Herb
Located around the corner from Rodeo Drive is a tea room that offers a sleek and sophisticated experience. This store has tons of teas and products to choose from, and their bar offers a chance to relax and nibble on a luxurious snack (perhaps a salmon tartlet?). The ‘iced tea of the day’ is always a good, cool option to beat the heat on a sunny day in Los Angeles.
Named for a story about birds picking the best tea leaves for their own nourishment, this chain of tea shops prides itself on offering the highest quality tea. In addition to single brewed cups of tea, the customer can also experience a tea service such as Teapot, Gaiwan, Matcha or Blossoming. Don’t let this small mall storefront store fool you, because once inside you’ll have tons of teas, tea gift sets and teaware to muse over.