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Tea resources

Many of you know how much I love drinking tea, not to mention having afternoon tea. Here are some tea resources I’ve used over the years. (I’ll post another entry on tea rooms later on.)

Now if I could just find a source of clotted cream produced in the United States. Yeah, good luck there.


I depend more on links rather than books for information on tea rooms and merchants. I mention a few books here, but do send me recommendations for others. My preferences would include helpful travel guides, reference tomes, or useful cookbooks for teatime munchables.

Hume, Ulrica. San Francisco in a Teacup: A Guidebook for Tea Lovers. Out of print, and contains several tea rooms no longer in business. It is, however, thorough, covering most parts of the Bay Area.

Mackley, Lesley. The Book of Afternoon Tea. This is a handy booklet of recipes for sandwiches, cookies, cakes and other snackables to go with tea. Also includes recipes for scones and lemon curd. And pretty pictures.

Sauer, Jennifer Leigh. The Way to Tea. Official site | Related blog. Easy to read, filled with lovely color photos. Vast majority of the tea rooms are in San Francisco, with a few in Marin County and Berkeley. None from either the South Bay or Peninsula, alas. Sauer does emphasize that she covers the places she frequents, rather than comprehensive reviews. Maps would’ve been really helpful; although addresses, both real world and websites, and hours are provided. Venues are organized into three seemingly arbitrary sections which are not alphabetical, not based on location, nor by style, AFAICT. A good reference, though; I wonder if she’ll continue with future editions.


Since online guides don’t always update their listings, remember to contact a place to ensure that they’re open and still in business. Moreover, these guides often list bubble tea places, and cafés which just happen to offer tea (not that either are a bad thing, mind you), in addition to the more traditional tea houses.

If you have a favorite international / travel guide (not listed here) which covers tea, please let me know.

  • Upton Tea Imports. Excellent loose-leaf teas, in bulk, from around the world, a vast range including some organic and fair trade teas. Upton has great prices and fast shipping, which is why I usually don’t bother with the more boutique tea sellers like Adagio, SpecialTeas or Teavana.
  • The grandmother of Internet tea room and tea merchant guides. Somewhat messy to read — all information for a given state or country is on a single page, and there’s no search field. But it’s the only international online guide I’ve found so far.
  • A nicely laid out domestic guide to tea rooms and tea merchants. Although the navigation gets hairy because, like the Tea Guide, they list every place within a state on one page — rather than allowing to search within a state or by city. But they do allow string searches and searching by zipcode.
  • Great Tearooms of America. Another domestic tea room guide. Does allow narrowing your search by city.

Brick & mortar tea merchants

When I’m in London, I usually purchase teas at Harrod’s in Knightsbridge — likely at a premium, but how could I resist those food halls? Yet I still welcome suggestions for other tea merchants in the UK.

  • Mountain View Tea Village, downtown Mountain View, CA. I was given a pleasant introduction to Pu-erh by one of the owners. Lots of teas from China and Taiwan, including excellent Oolongs.
  • Mariage Frères, several locations in Paris. Also a lovely place for a drink and tasty pastries.
  • Le Palais des Thés, various shops in France (many in Paris). A nearly daunting choice of teas to smell and buy. They have a wide variety of sampler box sets, based on country of origin, styles, or blends — both educational and pleasurable.

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