Photo courtesy of @nyciminlove
Best places to enjoy a good cuppa
Warm up with a cup of tea at these tea rooms and cafes across the country. From rare leaves and unique desserts to themed afternoon teas and one-of-a-kind teahouses, there's a little something for everyone.
Photo courtesy of China Live
Oolong Cafe at China Live | San Francisco, California
A Ming dynasty-inspired mural depicting Bay Area landmarks is the backdrop to a refined tea experience at Oolong Cafe in China Live. George Chen and Cindy Wong-Chen personally source the best green, oolong, black and pu-erh teas directly from farmers in China and Taiwan.
There are more than a dozen varieties available along with tea-infused mocktails. Pair Oriental Beauty oolong or caffeine-free eight treasure tea with black tea tiramisu and matcha tea cookies, then take home a box of Kao NuXu matcha and pineapple cakes.
Photo courtesy of Tony Yang
Cha-An Teahouse | New York, New York
Settle onto a tatami seat amidst Japanese paper lamps at Cha-An Teahouse in the East Village of New York to enjoy a wide collection of Japanese green teas. Varieties include Uji matcha, Chiran sencha, genmaicha and hojicha, along with international teas like Tieguanyin oolong and Darjeeling black tea.
Several of the popular desserts here are tea-flavored too, such as the hojicha anmitsu, matcha chiffon cake and Darjeeling shaved ice. Next door, Cha-An Bonbon has treats like skewered green tea and Earl Grey-chocolate dango mochi, and hojicha lattes sprinkled with rose petals.
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Boston
Mandarin Oriental, Boston | Massachusetts
The tea program at Mandarin Oriental, Boston changes seasonally. For February through early April, you'll find a chocolate and tea pairing in the Lobby Lounge. Sweet and savory bites include finger sandwiches and small pastries, which can be dipped in the accompanying chocolate fountain. It's the ultimate afternoon tea indulgence.
Photo courtesy of The St. Regis San Francisco
The St. Regis San Francisco | California
Caroline Astor – mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV – loved entertaining her close friends for afternoon tea at St. Regis New York during the Gilded Age.
Today, all St. Regis properties offer afternoon tea, but The St. Regis San Francisco does a particularly remarkable job, serving a selection of teas from delicate Anji white tea and citrus rooibos to signature St. Regis blend oolong in the lobby lounge alongside an exquisite tower of small bites.
Photo courtesy of Boulder CVB
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse | Boulder, Colorado
This intricate Persian teahouse was a gift from Boulder's sister city, Dushanbe in Tajikistan, as a symbol of global friendship in 1987. Today, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse serves more than 100 different teas alongside a global food menu, but they're best known for their award-winning chai tea.
During summer months, request a table on the patio, enveloped by the scent of dozens of different varieties of sweet roses.
Photo courtesy of Jeannie Liu
Miro Tea | Seattle, Washington
This cozy community teahouse has been a favorite in Seattle's historic Ballard neighborhood for more than a dozen years. Miro Tea offers more than 150 loose leaf teas and tisanes to enjoy in the cafe or to take home, with a large selection of single-origin unblended teas.
Sample several daily offerings while you peruse the signature drink menu. Ceremonial matcha is whisked perfectly for purists and students love the All Nighter – an iced drink with whisked matcha, raw sugar syrup, milk and espresso.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt
Tea Cellar at Park Hyatt Washington DC
Choose from more than 30 single-estate teas from remote regions of China, Japan, Sri Lanka and the Himalayas at the TeaCellar at Park Hyatt Washington DC. The rarest and most expensive aged pu-erh teas come from Anhui, China.
There's a 1949 vintage private reserve cave-aged pu-erh, along with a 1985 Emperor's Masterpiece that costs $300 per pot. Less than seven kilos of this tea were produced for worldwide consumption and it was hand-carried out of China after five years of negotiation.
Photo courtesy of Smith Teamaker
Smith Teamaker | Portland, Oregon
You've likely seen Smith Tea in many hotels and restaurants, but true fans can visit one of their two tasting rooms in Portland, Oregon, including the century-old blacksmith shop where Steven Smith created the brand in 2009.
Enjoy a flight of tea, nitro chai on tap or seasonal hot and cold mixed drinks like the hot buttered latte or hoji-chata this winter. On Fridays, you can tour the factory and Smith Tea often hosts workshops and classes in the art of blending, tasting 101 or in mixing tea cocktails.
Photo courtesy of Lady M
Lady M | Various locations
Lady M, a Japanese pastry shop with locations in New York, California, Boston and Chicago, is best known for their delicate mille crêpes and green tea confections. The 20-layered green tea mille crêpe is their bestseller, but there is also green tea mousse cake, green tea and dark chocolate checkered sponge cake and éclairs filled with herbaceous green tea custard (exclusive to the Bryant Park shop).
They were pioneers in the fusion of French pastry and Japanese confection in the United States and now have several shops in Asia, too – Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Double your dose of tea by pairing sweets with sencha green tea, mint verbena, English breakfast or a green tea latte.
Photo courtesy of 8393 Creative
Tea's Me | Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis' most popular loose leaf tea bar and café is also owned by four-time Olympic gold medalist, Tamika Catchings. Catchings played on the WNBA Indiana Fever team and is one of the most well-respected women’s pro basketball players in the country.
She bought Tea's Me once she retired from playing because she went there all the time while on the team. "I am a green tea fanatic," Catchings says. Tropical Cyclone, a green tea blended with mango and passion fruit is one of her favorites. "This tea is my go-to on any day to brighten my spirit."
Photo courtesy of Caren Leonard
Chiya Chai | Chicago, Illinois
Chiya Chai, an urban chai cafe in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, offers one of the most expansive chai programs in the world with over 150 different menu combinations. Owners Swadesh and Saujanya Shrestha grew up in the foothills of the Western Nepal Himalayas and their father was one of the first exporters of Nepalese tea to the United States.
The cafe atmosphere captures the magic and culture of teahouses in the Indian subcontinent with menu highlights including traditional ginger cardamom and black cardamom chai, as well as American twists like dark chocolate spearmint and caramel sea salt.