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Coffee & Tea 2

Oakland: L’Amyx Tea Bars – Bubble Tea, manju, pu-er, matcha, Thai tea, Victoria’s breakfast tea, pumpkin blend, chai ... and indifference

rworange | Jan 26, 201011:58 AM

These two unique tea shops, one on Piedmont and the other on Lakeshore, only get brief, occasional mentions on Chowhound.

Tea is served in small iron pots holding one cup. Return to the counter for unlimited hot water refills until either the tea leaves or you are exhausted. The ceramic mugs hold the contents of one pot.

There is a two page tea menu that includes traditional black, oolong, green and herbal teas with many blends such as ginger black, Arabian nights with rose petals, rooibos blood orange, peach black with dried peaches and peach blossoms, etc.

There is a brief menu of five sandwiches, four salads, soup of the day, quiche, sausage egg turnovers and potato knishes. The menu suggests tea pairings with the food … Persian tea with the knish, Keemum with the tuna salad, O’Haggerty breakfast with the sausage egg turnover.

A pastry case holds French desserts, tiramisu, colorful mochi, etc.

The bubble teas and tea smoothies start with brewed tea, not mixes. The bubble tea has the option of being served hot or cold. Yelpers seem to favor the coconut or lychee bubble tea.

They also serve Mr. Espresso coffee and Ghirardelli hot chocolate.

My take is they are to tea as Cole’s is to coffee … not quite top notch such as Teance, Imperial Tea, Far Leaves, etc. … a step above other places.

Like the serious coffee drinker won’t be disappointed at Cole’s, the serious tea drinker can find some good teas here.

I skeptically ordered the Frozen Summit. Each tea has a brief description and the notes on this read “Premier tea, amber-green color, lilac aroma, brawny, fresh flavor. Taiwan”

Though I didn’t detect the lilac, this was a lovely tea that was as good as any I’ve had at Imperial Tea.

The pumpkin blend made with honeybush tea just tasted like steeped cloves.

The hot chocolate isn’t anything you can’t make at home with Ghirardelli cocoa mix. Here’s my report.

The pastel mochi sandwiching a red bean filling was fine. It is not made in-house and I don’t know the source.

I haven’t tried any food and yelpers seem mixed on it. Probably this yelper’s description sums it up “The dishes don't WOW; they're unobtrusive and mostly get the job done”

The one item that gets consistent positive mentions is the turkey pesto sandwich – roasted turkey, tomato, mango, spring greens, and pesto on multi grain bread Suggested tea: 1890 Darjeeling.

A few yelpers mentioned they have manju, a Japanese dessert

Both late night cafes are described endlessly on Yelp as cute … and they are … with sunny windows, a mix of tables and chairs with sofas and counter seats.

Both shops are almost identical with the same hours and menu. The Lakeshore location is a little smaller.

The website says the owners wanted it to be a gathering place … and it seems to be ,,, with everything from laptop squatters, knitting groups, people on dates or people just dropping in for a cup. On some evenings there is live music.

The owners decided not to offer wifi, thinking it would distract from a convivial atmosphere. There are limited electrical outlets. Still, the majority of customers seem attached to a laptop. One yelper said that there actually were more outlets than are visible, some concealed.

As the website says "It's not just tea. It's a lifestyle."

Does anyone know if Cinda Lam Amyx, co-owner with her husband, Scott Amyx
still own L’Amyx. There was a fleeting mention on Yelp about a management change.

The shop also offers tea ware - pots, books, stirrers, strainers, etc. Teas,

Some things to note
- There is a frequent buyers club – buy 10 get one free
- Two people are not allowed to split one pot of tea. They won’t give out two cups
- There is a $10 minimum to use a debit or credit card
- Parking is a bear at both places
- They don’t allow food to be brought in from the outside
- The restroom at the Piedmont shop is in another building.

The most complaints on yelp (other than price) is about the service and I can understand that. At both locations the staff is pleasant enough, but a little detached and indifferent. There was not the same level of involvement as Far Leaves or Teance. You are left on you own to make a decision based on menu descriptions.

As to price complaints … part of that is paying for a spot to sit for a while … the other part is people who are unfamiliar with fine tea. This isn’t Numi or Republic of Tea. At $3.75 a pot it is significantly lower than other tea rooms.

I like L'Amyx for being different. It seems to be an introduction to loose leaf tea for many that is accessible. It is a nice décor unlike so many coffee shop or bubble tea shops. It seems to offer something for almost everyone without catering to the lowest common denominator

An older post

L'Amyx Tea Bar, Oakland

L'Amyx Tea Bar
4179 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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