Answers from Our Experts (2)
It's amazing how big tea is getting in SF. One of my favorite things to do is hit the tea tasting rooms, especially in Chinatown. Here you'll belly up to the tea bar and taste a selection of whte, green, herbal, black (and probably others I can't recall) while chatting it up with knowledgable staff who tell you about the health benefits of each tea. Vital Leaf is one of my favorites. The tea is great and carefully prepared before your eyes, but Uncle Gee and Ming make the experience fun. "You come in strangers, and you leave like family," said Uncle Gee. How could I not buy a pound of tea after that! Red Blossom Tea Company is nearby and boasts being the first tea shop in Chinatown. Knowledgable, with a vast assortment of outstanding, abd gorgeous tea serving sets, this place is definitely for the tea savvy sippers.
My favorite beverage is tea so I am pleased to recommend a few of my favorite destinations in San Francisco to enjoy this. For traditional English style tea, try the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the service has all that is expected including made to order sandwiches, scones, delicate petit fours and tarts. For a great Chinese tea experience, I head to Imperial Tea Court in the Ferry Building. Experience "kung fu" tea, a master tradition, where one samples the highest grade teas brewed to perfection and sipped from delicate thumb size Yixing wares. Samovar, atop the Yerba Buena Gardens, across from the SF Museum of Modern Art is another excellent choice. The views of the city scape and the unexpected open space is a great respite from the cacphony of downtown. Samovar offers many styles of tea service; from hearty meals to a simple perfect cup of brew.