High quality teas, some Ive never seen before, and special tea flavored cookies are served at this serene and lovely tea room on College Avenue at Ashby. To me, it has all the best qualities of Imperial Tea, Celadon and Dynastea.
When I asked about the seven year goddess, a vintage Chinese oolong which was new to me, I was told that customers have said it is just like the tea that is typical in Taiwan. Is this a common tea?
Owner Donna Christy travels to Taiwan to select some of her premium Chinese teas. The selection of over 60 varieties also includes teas from Japan, Korea, the Middle East and North Africa. Breakfast tea, Earl Grey, Moroccan Mint, Chai, Yerba Mate and Rooibos are examples. There are also interesting herbal teas like Lemon ginger and Elderflower nectar.
From the beautifully bound tea list, I chose the Blood Orange tea which was paired with addictive blood orange shortbread made from the same tea. A lovely Jasmine biscotti is also always available. I was told it took quite a while to develop the tea based cookies which are exclusively made for the shop. Occasionally there are tea based macaroons and pound cake
Warmers are on each table to allow you to regulate the temperature of the water served in the metal pots. The appropriate tea ware is provided.
The staff is very helpful and told me how to watch the amount of steam from the pot to determine if the water is at the correct temperature. Even if you know nothing about tea, the tea list (see website) describes them like fine wines.
From the generous selection of tea ware I chose a mug with a ceramic strainer, a metal tea strainer and empty paper tea bags that I can fill with my own tea. I was tempted by the tea eye pillows which supposedly clear your mind while you sleep. I could use some of that. I read that in China sleeping on tea leaves is said to do that. Fact or fiction?
Check the website for special events. On the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month there are tea tastings.
In the Ikea / Amtrak area of Emeryville there is a second shop that has takeout food like noodles. It is closed until spring and has odd hours. They dont have a restaurant permit due to zoning restrictions, so Emeryville only has canisters of tea for sale and the food to go.
I found out about Far Leave teas which opened in 1997 from a recent San Francisco Chronicle letter to the editor. You may never read this, but thank you, Margaret Tsiang.