I got back a few days ago, and I am still starry eyed from Bay Area’s essence. The Tea culture and the whole gourmet culture in general seems to be living proof that flavor can exist in a true and accessible fashion. A friend told me that there are about 100 bakeries in the city for San Francisco alone. There are some wonderful food experiences to be had in the area, as Andrew showed us. There are many tea houses of various quality and feel. A few of the more well known ones are Imperial Tea Court, Far Leaves and Samovar. To the best of my knowledge Imperial Tea Court and Far Leaves both source tea directly from estates in China. Another well know tea house is the Celadon Tea Room. They are renowned for their quality and freshness. Unfortunately, I missed my chance to go there because they are currently switching locations.
The Tea Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area is one that is entirely its own. Tea is much more a part of daily life and culinary experience than it is in Boston. This is obviously because of the strong Chinese and Japanese influence. Seeing Tea Houses ranging from good to simple doing well gives me hope for what Tea in the United States could become. As the culinary culture and focus on quality in what we eat and drink continues to grow, it is nice to see a few people paying attention to Tea. I only hope that this culture will continue to grow and the quality will improve. I hope also to see more focus on the flavor of tea as opposed to the conscious altering effects and social aspect of tea.
Lots of inspiration to keep tasting, and a desire to figure out what they put in their water was found in California.