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

By Lesley Balla  |  January 12, 2016

It's no wonder January is National Hot Tea Month. The month is generally cold, even here in LA, and cooler temps warrant a cup or two of tea, which is antioxidant rich and naturally soothing. You can sip tea just about anywhere, 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's where to go when the tea craving strikes, this month or anytime.

  • American Tea Room

    Downtown LA is overflowing with high-test cold brews and house-roasted espresso, which is why this sleek, calming tea room is a welcome alternative. Open just within earshot of the Bestia and Petty Cash crowds, this rather large space includes a retail area for picking up sustainably sourced teas and tea accessories for home; a "tasting arena" for finding just the right brew; and a swank little lounge and a garden patio for sipping hot and cold tea concoctions and nibbling pastries and snacks prepared by Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections fame. Visit the "tea zone" to select teas by mood, flavor, region, color or price, and then see, smell and sample any of the more than 200 teas. In addition to regular pots of tea, there are also beverages like Hong Kong–style milk tea, Bengali masala chai, Himalayan butter tea, organic matchas and even tea-infused cocktails.

    909 S. Santa Fe Ave.; 310-271-7922

  • 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

  • Tpumps

    You'd probably drive right past this little bubble-tea shop on the southern end of the South Lake district in Pasadena, except for the long line snaking outside the door and down the sidewalk. Already extremely popular in the Bay Area, this is the first SoCal location for the chain, which is known for super-customizable hot and cold tea beverages. It's like a choose-your-own-adventure of tea: pick hot or cold green, black or herbal tea; add a few flavors from the more than 40 natural syrups; decide how sweet you want it from not at all to super-sugary; make it a milk tea with lactose-free dairy; and add a topping, the most popular of which is the housemade honey boba. While most people are there drinking cold teas, a hot milk tea with almond and honey boba is soothing. The drinks are made to order, which helps explain the long lines to some degree. 

    524 S. Lake Ave.

  • Credit: Valerie

    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 Gray 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, Culver City or Arcadia shops.

    Multiple locations

  • Credit: Langham

    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


    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

  • 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 Saturday and 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. $39 per person.

    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. Prices range from $60–$78.

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

  • 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 bonbons, 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

  • Credit: 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 — the $36 fee includes admission to the grounds for strolling before or after.

    17985 Pacific Coast Hwy.