Spill the tea

Tea houses offer treats for cold days.


Olivia Mohun, City Life Editor

Throughout time, tea has been a common staple in society, drawing connections between divergent cultures across the globe. A hotbed for coffeehouses and juice bars, San Francisco also offers dozens of local hubs for tea fanatics to satisfy their cravings.

Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park beside the De Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden is home to both a Japanese-style garden and classical tea house. While the garden attracts a multitude of tourists, tranquil scenery and reasonable prices entice locals as well.

Visitors may sample teas such as Genmaicha, Hojicha, Jasmine or iced green tea for $3.75 a cup or purchase a cup of Matcha for $8.50. Tea may be accompanied by small Japanese confections like sesame and almond cookies, green tea cheesecake or house-made traditional rice cakes called “Kuzumochi”.

The tea house offers outdoor seating shaded by a roof where guests may view the gardens while sampling their traditional Japanese delicacies. Other collations on the menu include Miso soup, Japanese pancakes filled with red bean paste, and Udon noodles.

Those looking for a lesser-known spot may sip their tea at Crown and Crumpet, a tea room in Japantown where guests sit in a stylish salon that maintains the atmosphere of a traditional English tea parlor. The salon is located in the corner of a multipurpose building, where customers are seated in an intimate dining setting full of floral tablecloths and colorfully cushioned chairs. Visitors may dine in or opt to take certain treats like macarons to go.

Those looking to try a bit of everything on the menu may choose to order the Afternoon Tea for One at $32 or can order a serving for two for an additional $8. The deal includes a pot of tea of choice and various “amuse-bouches,” including raspberry and apple scones, typical English crumpets served with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches and sweets like meringue and chocolate covered strawberries.

The parlor also serves lunch items such as chicken pot pie or avocado toast and other beverages including hot chocolate, mochas, espressos and almond milk.

The Japanese Tea House and Garden is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily through the Winter season and is located at 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. Crown and Crumpet is open 11:00 a.m. until  5:15 p.m. daily and can be found at 1746 Post Street.