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Restaurants & Bars 3

Teance in Albany: it wowed the novice and it wowed the connoisseurs

Morton the Mousse | Jun 15, 200509:04 PM

Do you think that you don't like tea? I thought that I didn't like Tea. Then I went to Teance. Now I know I'd just never drunk tea before.

Tea in the United States today is where coffee and food were thirty years ago. High quality teas are almost impossible to find. Even in the Bay Area, the number of high-end tea shops is small, especially when compared to the number of restaurants, bars and coffee houses. Thirty years ago, people though Velveeta was cheese and Columbia House was coffee. Today, people still think bagged powder is tea.
Thank goodness for Teance.
There are some fine tea houses and tea shops throughout the Bay Area, but Teance is special. Most tea houses have limited menus (10-15 teas). You order one pot of tea for the afternoon and drink it with snacks. Often times, more attention is paid to the snacks than to the tea. Good tea shops carry a wide selection, but you can't sample the tea on site. Teance brings us the best of both with the Tea Bar.
At the Tea Bar you can order a small, "sample" cup of 80 different teas. The menu is awesome. They serve the finest loose leaf, seasonal teas you can find in this country. They have teas that win international competitions. Each tea is brewed to order carefully. Attention is paid to every detail, so that the flavor of each tea shines.
In an afternoon you can try five or six different premium teas and take home a bag of your favorite.
Teance consists of the tea bar, a tea lounge where you can order pots of tea and snacks, and a retail shop that sells about 80 teas and tea equipment. The service is wonderful. The bartender is knowledgeable, friendly, attentive and graceful. The interior design is beautiful. Prices are very reasonable. It's on the Albany side of Solano so parking is not bad. Honestly, I don't have a single, negative thing to say about this place.
I am new to tea, so my enthusiasm can be taken with a grain of salt. When my tea-snobs folks visited last month I took them straight to Teance. These two have been to some of the finest tea houses in the world, they have about fifty tins of loose leaf teas in their cabinet at home, and they were blown away. They loved the Tea Bar concept, and had never seen anything like it before. They thought the teas were some of the best they'd ever had. My mother's response to the Darjeeling was, "I wish my mother was alive to taste this tea."
Take a moment and check out their web site. Any true Chowhound will recognize the passion these people feel about tea. I particularly like the rant about bagged tea in the FAQs (linked below). If you're curious, drop by and try a free sample. But give yourself time, because you won't want to leave until you've tried a few more.


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