7 temptations in a tea-spot: From secret doors and gardens to tea sommeliers and choco-chais

Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden offers indoor and outdoor seating. (JackieBurrell/Bay Area News Group)

In much of the world, tea is an everyday beverage, whether you’re slurping boba on the go or settling into a steaming cup of chai. And if the growing presence of eclectic tea shops here in the Bay Area is any clue, tea may soon give coffee a run for its caffeine.

Overall, tea in the United States is shifting from the upraised-pinky demographic to a more mainstream sip, says Victoria Boyert, a certified tea specialist and owner of Saratoga’s Tipping Pot by Satori Tea Co. “Tea is the perfect conduit to connect,” Boyert says. Between the steeping of tea leaves and the sheer ritual of it, tea “is naturally slower paced than coffee. So tea is the perfect counterpart to the modern age.”

But tea is also incredibly current — and Instagram-worthy. Just step into a bright, yellow-and-white hued Happy Lemon, the China-based fast-casual tea cafe with nine locations in the Bay Area, including Berkeley and Sunnyvale. There, millennials stand in long lines until 10 and 11 p.m. on weekends for a fix of — wait for it — creamy, salted cheese tea.

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And then there’s the creativity at home-grown spots, such as Pleasanton’s Inklings or San Jose’s Tea Lyfe, where laptops mingle with open mic nights. Husband-and-wife owners Candy and Caleb Bui opened Tea Lyfe in 2014 as an alternative to typical milk-tea shops.

Tea Lyfe specializes in natural, organic milk teas and other beverages that fuse their Latino and Vietnamese cultures. Think Vietnamese coffee horchata and a cold-brewed jasmine tea strong enough to stand up to Straus Family Creamery milk. The Buis make all their own syrups and source local and organic ingredients whenever possible.

“We wanted to do something different,” Candy says, “so people could experience the two cultures in our teas.”

Here’s to celebrating everything different in tea. You’ll find seven of our favorite Bay Area tea houses below — minimal doilies involved.

Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden
Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden offers indoor and outdoor seating. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

With its driftwood mobiles, sustainable veggie-driven fare, choco-chais and herbal tisanes, this is so not your Aunt Petunia’s tea salon. Laptop-tapping tea lovers perch at small tables at this Alameda cafe. Sunny yellow walls complement black-and-white checkered floors, and green shelves hold colorful tea pots and bins of Fair Trade teas to brew at home. But why would

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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