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12 Spots to Sip, Savor and Shop for Tea Around LA

By Lesley Balla
January 7, 2014

It's no wonder January is National Hot Tea Month. The month is generally cold, even here in LA, which warrants delicious hot beverages; drinking antioxidant-rich teas has many health benefits; and tea is just, well, soothing. Tea is everywhere, whether it's chatting over a lavish high-tea affair at one of the tony Beverly Hills hotels, sipping a new lapsang souchong at a fun little shop in the middle of Old Town Pasadena, or buying a Tiffany-blue tin filled with loose-leaf tea in a Silver Lake boutique. Here are 12 places to hit when the tea craving strikes, this month or anytime.

  • Valerie Echo Park

    Tea isn’t just something to sip at Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman, Jr.’s newish cafe: it’s also a prominent ingredient in sweet and savory dishes on the menu. So while sipping a pot of green, black or herbal tea, or a tisane (hot water infused with fruits and herbs), you can snack on something like matcha or Earl Grey petit fours, or open-faced tartines with smoked salmon and lapsang souchong butter. 

    1665 Echo Park Ave.; 888-706-1408

  • Chado Tea Room

    The tea rooms in Hollywood, Pasadena and Downtown LA feature very affordable tea tastings with a sampling of eight different teas from around the world - white, green, yellow, oolong, black, Pu-erh and two house blends - plus snacks like baked scones with Chado cream and jam. $20 per person. You can also find a world of loose-leaf teas, accessories and more in the retail shops.

    Multiple locations

  • Bird Pick Tea & Herb

    A more modern retail offshoot of Wing Hop Fung, an herb and tea store in Chinatown, this retail shop and tea bar features teas from their own estates in China, including an organic tea garden that produces house blends. Shop around for loose-leaf and pre-packaged teas, tea bags, pots and other accessories, or sip hot and cold teas and other drinks in the Pasadena or Century City shops.

    Multiple locations

  • Montage Beverly Hills

    Afternoon tea is served in the swank lobby lounge Fridays through Sundays from noon to 4 PM. Artisanal teas are served in delicate, Lissi Kaplan-designed hand-painted China, which you can purchase in the nearby shop, along with an array of sweet and savory treats that change with the season.

    225 N. Canon Dr.; 310-499-4199

  • The Langham Huntington

    The very first Langham Hotel, which opened in 1865, was the first luxury hotel in Europe to serve afternoon tea. So they take it pretty seriously in Pasadena. The Tiffin Afternoon Tea includes savory tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream, fruit tarts, mousse tortes and crème brûlée, and your choice of tea, plus champagne with the Royal service. Views of the lovely grounds from the lobby lounge windows are all yours. Tiffin is served Monday through Saturday from noon to 4 PM.

    1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.; 626-585-6218

  • Rose Tree Cottage

    This charming spot has been an epicenter of all things British for more than 30 years. Afternoon tea, which takes place in the pretty, frilly indoor tea rooms or the safari-themed garden, is as traditional as it comes, with fine teas served in bone-china cups and saucers, hot scones with Devon cream and preserves, shortbreads, finger sandwiches and more. Reservations must be made no more than one week ahead (it’s best to call after 10 AM). Seatings are at 1, 2:30 and 4 PM every Tuesday through Sunday.

    801 S. Pasadena Ave.; 626-793-3337

  • Millennium Biltmore

    The gorgeous Rendezvous Court at the historic Downtown hotel is quite the setting for afternoon tea. If only those Moorish carved-wood ceilings, gold-leaf accents and travertine walls could talk. There’s a traditional tea service every Wednesday through Sunday from 2-5 PM, including a pot of custom-blended tea, finger sandwiches, pistachio and currant scones, French macarons, chocolate and caramel tarts, madeleines and cream puffs. You can even add on a glass of sherry, wine or sparkling wine for something with a little more oomph.

    506 S. Grand Ave.; 213-624-1011

  • The Peninsula Beverly Hills

    Fancy, fancy, fancy. Afternoon tea takes place in the posh Living Room with scones, profiteroles, seasonal tarts and a choice of more than 30 loose-leaf teas. If the harpist playing in the background doesn’t up the luxury level here, maybe the additional caviar cake and champagne will. Seatings are offered daily at noon, 2:30 and 5 PM.

    9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd.; 310-975‑2736

  • LAMILL

    After Craig Min took over coffee and tea operations from his father, his LAMILL brand has grown into one of the more recognizable ones across Los Angeles and beyond, with the Silver Lake boutique and cafe at its forefront. Loose-leaf teas are custom blended and served in pretty blue tins for home (they make great gifts), or you can sit and sip a pot of white, black, green and other unique teas that Min’s sourced from around the world.

    1636 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-663-4441

  • Scarlet Tea Room

    A bridal party’s dream, this Old Town Pasadena tea room offers various menus served in a pretty dining room with a baby grand piano. The five-course tea ceremony includes a pot of tea; sorbet; scones with cream; tea sandwiches; petit fours; and fresh berry Romanoff.  The three-course Parisian tea comes with French onion soup, quiche, petit fours and tea. And there’s a regular Sunday brunch menu as well.

    18 W. Green St.; 626-577-0051

  • Tres

    This is afternoon tea, José Andrés-style. The menu features a bunch of savory and sweet snacks, from caviar steam buns to beet macarons with goat cheese, bagel and lox cones, candies from the Patisserie like chocolate pop rocks and crispy bon bons, plus your choice of loose-leaf teas. Served daily from 3-5 PM, but you can linger for hours.

    465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-246-5551

  • Photo by: Getty Villa

    The Getty Villa

    Enjoy Tea by the Sea at the historic landmark Thursdays and Saturdays at 1 PM. No longer in the Tea Room, where afternoon tea was held from 1974-1997, tea is now set up in the Founder’s Room overlooking the beautiful and lush Villa grounds. The menu is inspired by the herbs, vegetables and fruits that grow in the Roman gardens, featuring savory panini, scones, tea breads, cakes and tarts, along with fruits, cheeses and a selection of teas. Come for the tea, stay for the gardens - price includes admission to the grounds for strolling before or after.

    17985 Pacific Coast Hwy.

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