Five Bay Area Cafes Serving Oddi-teas

Categories: Tea, WTF?

Whether San Francisco or Oakland opens their cat cafe first, we'll be waiting.

When you ask Google about "weird cafes," a majority of the results are Japan-related. But recently many of these themed-cafes have made their way stateside, providing alternatives to your usual tea spot. Whether you're having a tea party with some incredibly pricey dolls or cuddling with a complete stranger, these cafes are sure to leave an impression.

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Samovar Tea Goes High-Concept on Valencia

Pete Kane
Behind the counter at Samovar.

Of all the design elements the world needs to see more of, travertine has got to be one. The off-white porous limestone formed the crux of the International Style, and now it's back in the new Samovar on Valencia Street. It is a high-concept space, designed to wow you just as those barn-like Third Wave coffee roasteries do.

See also: Chamalyn, a New Tea Lounge in Bernal Heights

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Chamalyn, a New Tea Lounge in Bernal Heights

Pete Kane
Chamalyn's wall of tea feels like almost like candy store, but with a minimalist Japanese vibe.

Once upon a time there was a Japanese store in the Mission called Chamalyn that had bubble tea and was otherwise similar to Umami Mart in Old Oakland, but it has since shattered. Now, we have a new Chamalyn in Bernal Heights, which is a both a Japanese tea shop and lounge. It's kind of like Samovar, only more affordable.

See Also: Gifts and Cocktails from T-WE Tea

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Artisanal Tea Has Been Given the Oprah Stamp of Approval

Categories: Tea

Starbucks News
Howard Schultz and Oprah celebrate the announcement of her new chai tea line.
Last week we told you to get ready for artisanal tea to become a thing. Today there's more proof: Coffee giant Starbucks announced at a shareholders' meeting today that it's commissioned none other than Oprah Winfrey to create a new tea blend for its brand Teavana. Oprah will be making a chai blend, which she developed with "Teavana's leading teaologist Naoko Tsunoda." (How many teaologists does Teavana employ, one wonders?)

See also: Brace Yourselves For Third-Wave Tea to Be a Thing

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Brace Yourselves For Third-Wave Tea to Be a Thing

Categories: Tea

Facebook/Samovar Tea Lounge
Tea has been making a "comeback" for years but it finally seems like it's on the verge of breaking out.

You've heard of so-called "third-wave coffee" -- the single-origin, pour-over, absurdly tasting-noted brew that you find at places like Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Sightglass, and just about every coffee shop in town. Well, it's finally tea's turn to get the fancy treatment. We received a sample of Samovar's new "3rd wave" tea that it will be debuting at its new "handcrafted tea experience" (aka cafe) opening in May at 411 Valencia. The press release, which came in an envelope with a faux-wax seal, had phrases like "meticulously sourced craft tea" and "Samovar turns brewing tea into performance art while serving a few select teas from its carefully curated collection."

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Gifts and Holiday Cocktails from T-WE TEA and Got Milk?

Pete Kane
Although coffee has achieved near-ubiquity, tea seems to lag behind. This is a peculiar situation, considering how varied tea can be, and how inexpensive it is. Unlike the big-name third-wave coffee roasteries, there are comparatively fewer tea houses of note.

While T-WE TEA in the Crocker Galleria isn't a café, it is a splendid little shop to pick up some artisan blended, single-origin loose leaf teas as a holiday gift. (If you're flying home for the Birth of Santa, it's probably best to minimize that luggage weight, and dried leaves are perfect for that).

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Craftsman and Wolves Opens a Small Window for Afternoon Tea

Categories: Palmer, Tea

Tamara Palmer
Afternoon tea for two at Craftsman and Wolves.
We've been wanting to try the afternoon tea service at Craftsman and Wolves since it began in October, but due to its specialty nature, it is only served from 1-5 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday so it took some time to catch it during this small window. However, after experiencing it yesterday, we think this window is definitely worth opening for its delightful surprises, which change according to the whim of C+W.

See Also:
- Craftsman and Wolves Takes an Extra Step With Peanut Butter Cookies
- French-Inspired Candied Milk Jams Get a California Remix
- Preview Craftsman and Wolves, Opening on June 16

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Chai Cart Opens Second Location

Paawan Kothari
The Chai Cart's latest mobile station.
The Chai Cart has secured a second permanent location. Sippers can now find it at Market and Drumm streets weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with extended hours expected in the new year. This joins the original cart which is a few blocks up the street at 545 Market. Weekends, the original cart is stationed at 560 Valencia.

See Also:
- Tea at The Top of The Mark Includes The Best City Views
- Lovejoy's Tea Room Offers New Modern Flavors and 'Keep Calm' Merchandise
- Canadian Tea-tailer DAVIDsTEA Opens First San Francisco Shop

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Tea at The Top of The Mark Includes The Best City Views

Categories: Events, Palmer, Tea

Connie Perez-Wong
Holiday tea at Top of The Mark, located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, is worth considering as an annual mini-splurge to have a taste of luxury in San Francisco. The almost 360-degree views of the city offer a cool feng shui-esque moment of feeling on top of the world. Put your pinkies up for a sip, a generous amount of food, and a choice of settings: One is a good bet for children, and one is more suited to adult tastes.

See Also:
- Tour The Old Mint and Sip Tea With San Francisco Museum & Historical Society
- Lovejoy's Tea Room Offers New Modern Flavors and 'Keep Calm' Merchandise
- Canadian Tea-tailer DAVIDsTEA Opens First San Francisco Shop

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Tour The Old Mint and Sip Tea With San Francisco Museum & Historical Society

Categories: Events, Palmer, Tea

San Francisco Museum & Historical Society
Peek inside the Old Mint on December 7.
San Francisco Museum and Historical Society began throwing its annual Holiday Tea inside the Old Mint Building in 2009 as a fundraiser. The organization does a lovely job decking out a high-ceiling room formerly used for gold counting with winter wonderland flair to set a classic backdrop for the traditional English ritual (tea, finger sandwiches, and other tiny notions). This year's event takes place on December 7.

See Also:
- Old Mint Rolls Out Three Weeks of Culinary Events

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