Hometown Tea Culture
So the world is an awesome place and I want to know more about it :) what is the tea culture like where you live? Do you have nice tea shops, tea festivals…anything like that.
Feed my hunger for knowledge!
I’m starting to believe that suburban Alabama has no culture at all (._.)
rofl. They have their own unique culture…. It’s just difficult to describe… Well… there’s the peanut festival.
also… I just realized that this thread is 5 months old… I guess I’m a little behind the times!
There is Emma’s Tea Room on Pratt Ave, Tea with Thee by Victoria on Hughes, and Piper and Leaf which has a permanent location at Lowe Mill and they also go to many of the different farmer’s markets in the area! Emmma’s is mainly open for lunch and they have afternoon teas by reservation on Friday and Saturday, while Tea with Thee has high teas by reservation every day, and they also serve lunch everyday as well. Emma’s has around 60 teas, and Tea with thee seems to have around 25. Piper and Leaf blends their own teas, but I have never been to their main location. The blends that I have tried so far are pretty good, but they can be kind of pricey!
All of them offer both. I know you can buy loose leaf at Emma’s and Tea with Thee at their regular locations, and then you can buy Piper and Leaf loose leaf at Lowe Mill, the Switch House at the Lumberyard, and I believe they sell some of their loose leaf if you run into them at the Concerts in the Park or at a farmer’s market. PM me if you want more info about the hours or locations :)
I live in a pretty small town but just across the river from Louisville, Kentucky. They have at least 2 nice tea shops that I’ve visited and really enjoyed. Also, over the weekend, I found a local coffee shop (in my town) that I’ve visited a few times carries loose leaf and at a nice price point- $2.50 or so an ounce. Hopefully going back this weekend to pick some up because the latte I had made with their mango black tea was delish!
‘Tea culture’ wouldn’t exactly describe anywhere I’ve lived, and that includes places where you can really geek out on beer, whiskey, coffee, whatever. But ‘good tea shop’ tends to mean, well, a cozy place with maybe 8 loose teas of middling quality. Perhaps we need a festival…
I have no tea culture in my town. But we have plenty of bars. /headdesk/
The nearest tea shop is a handful of towns over or a drive into the city, and none of them are really ‘sit down and relax’ sort of places. At least not to me since I’d have to drive a half hour to get to one in the first place. Lol.
We had a cool tea shop years ago by the university that was run by a woman really into British antiques and tea, where half the building was antiques and teaware and half was a tea restaurant. You could go there for silver trayed tea service and the cook she hired was awesome—I’d go with a couple friends and we’d spend lazy afternoons drinking lapsang souchong and nibbling on Cornish pasties and roasted garden veggie tarts. It was so nice. But it didn’t take in the city I live in—to be honest I can’t really blame folks here for not digging hot tea much; 9 months out of the year it’s like 90F+ and oppressively sunny with horrid humidity—and it’s been gone for years with no good replacement. There’s some frou frou cater-like “hire us to do a tea service at your next kid’s party” businesses, no walk-in presence though and heavy on the pomp and circumstance/props while light on actual tea focus, and a cafe downtown recently opened that serves Art of Tea loose leaf and has a couple tea drinks on the menu, but that’s it. Ah well and thank god for the internet!
Where I live, is kind of spread out, growing up in Toronto, I always thought of it as Suburbia, and really if I was to consider the space that I regularly live and shop in, it includes at least 4 cities. I live in a former town x a part of an amalgamated city, which is more focussed on coffee culture. We have 2 independant, 3 fancier chains, and Tim’s within a 15 minute walk from where I live. One of the independents does serve looseleaf and there is a bakery that does high tea on the weekends. I live in a highly ethnic diverse area so there are lots of groceries stores that sell loose leaf of varying quality and cultural traditions around. I know of at least two distributors focussed mostly on Ceylon, and there are several online businesses in the area. The mall closest to me has three tea stores, Teavana Davids and Ten Ren as well as a Whole Foods selling looseleaf. I also know you can go to tea at one of the. Bhuddist temples near by and the Zen Garden restaurant has a nice tea shop. Downtown Oakville which I gave often biked to has at least two store in the downtown, and Downtown Toronto has a plethera of them, plus Apothecaries and teashops in China Town. I have never done tea at either the Royal Yorknor King Edward hotels, growing up going to tea was part of the adventure of escaping the city, where my mother would just pick a direction and drive. Toronto of course has several tea cultural bodies, and a tea festival etc.
Atlanta may be home to Teavana, but it’s definitely a coffee and bar city. There are very few proper tea shops in the metro area. Dr. Bombay’s is a cute little shop but unfortunately light on the tea (though they do have some kind of high tea). Zen Tea in Chamblee is wonderful, with over a hundred teas to try and even buy at reasonable prices to take home. There are a couple of other places further out but I haven’t explored them yet.
If you head up the road to Buford Highway Farmer’s Market you can find teas from all over the world in their country’s aisles; I’ve found some gems there. Or buy teas in bulk at Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market for cheap tea that isn’t too bad.
Well right next to the city I live in are 2 shops (though one might be closed, as I hardly ever see them open anymore.) the other having a lovely selection of teaware and a fair amount of Harney & Sons Tea tins, Tagalongs and some samples. (Not crazy about them selling the tagalongs a dollar and half more then the shop I go to near my Grandmother’s but oh well.)
There is a Irish restaurant that has a tea every tuesday, but it ends before I get home from my Grandmothers (I take care of her on Tues.) plus not to mention it’s $25 a pop. A bit out of my price range.
All complaints aside, I am glad to find that there is some tea enjoyment going on around me and a few interesting finds.
My family is from northern China, although I currently live in USA and have Canadian citizenship. Tea is a relatively modern interest of my family (they grew up traditionally poor in northern China, which means they were not exposed to tea culture much) but once they found out I like tea, my relatives have been sending me constant gifts of tea out of family obligation. I don’t think my family are big tea drinkers, although I believe my father once took me to a tea drinking place in China where we sampled a lot of teas. My father kept teas around, even though he was always too busy to drink them. Mostly, tea was a restaurant thing in my family.
I grew up in Chinatown, Toronto. Tea is fairly casual here, you can find a nice stash of tea in every chinese market pretty easily, usually a whole half-row to itself or so, of all the common kinds. There a chinese tea chain store, similar to a chinese David’s Tea or Teavana, called Ten Ren I think? It’s not great, but you can pick up bulk loose leaf there and probably only place around you can pick up pu-erh cakes. The most popular way to consume tea would probably be bubble tea. There is bubble tea stores everywhere in chinatown. (Bubble tea is tea + flavoring(optional) + milk/cream/sugar/etc. + tapioca pearls, usually served cold but can also be served hotter, effectively a chewy cold milk tea)
Recently, Toronto has turned into a pretty hipster town. Just down the way of Chinatown, you can find a David’s Tea. The David’s Tea is not bad, the people are not bad there at all, but it is way too busy for comfort for me.
Of the tea culture I know outside of Toronto, I spent enough time in a part of the states to also check out a tea culture in Buffalo. Buffalo has a growing asian community because of its university (lots of students internationally) and is a thriving hotspot for contemporary literature, for some reason. There are specialty tea stores here, as well as teavanas. Despite this, tea isn’t in the culture of Buffalo, the stores I think get by through casual drinkers and the occasional hardcore regulars. It’s a more westernized tea culture at the local tea store. However, the local tea specialty store is pretty impressively dedicated to tea and has a nice selection of both tea blends and unblended tea and ar apparently willing to help a person like me look for more obscure teas, which is pretty neat all things considered.
(Sorry for the wall of text!)
Tea culture? Nope, not at all.
Home (which is in Northern California) There’s just one quaint little tea house that I love so much! We do have a Teavanna at the mall that I rarely go to. Luckily San Francisco is just a 45 minute drive away so there’s a whole lot more going on in the tea-drinking world. From British to Asian teas, San Francisco’s got it. And in Golden Gate Park, there’s the Japanese Tea Garden with has the best Japanese Garden ever. And inside the garden, there’s a Japanese-style… not exactly a building, but a large-ish hooded area? Ahh well, that’s where they serve tea and Japanese snacks and desserts. Definitely a great experience, but I just hate how it’s so out of the way whenever I want to do a quick SF-run.
We also have a whole lot of tapioca places which I love so much :) But I usually get it with the slushies, not their milk tea haha
Where I’m living right now is in Southern California for college. There’s a fat lot of tea houses and lounges and I haven’t had the chance to visit any of them yet! I’m planning a visit to two places next weekend so I’m pretty excited :) And same with NorCal, SoCal has a lot of boba places. Fun fact: NorCal calls it tapioca, SoCal calls it boba. All my friends down here keep making fun of me because I always say tapioca instead of boba heheh :)
I realized that tea culture is more in the city bit, while back home in the suburbs, there’s really no way to broaden your tea tastebuds.