San Francisco is opening its golden gates to a new trend from across the pond: afternoon tea. But if a stodgy ceremony with your pinky finger up is not, well, your cup of tea, check out these area experiences that give Earl Grey and crumpets a run for their money.
Bloom Dandelion Chocolate Factory
Teatime comes with a twist at this chic-industrial salon, located within the 16th Street Factory in Mission District. Don’t expect cucumber sandwiches here. The “Afternoon Chocolate Tea” comes with a pot of tea of your choice and a three-course chocolate tasting menu that includes different origin chocolate bites and pastries.
A form of green tee that’s been enjoyed in China and Japan for hundreds of years, handcrafted matcha is served up sparkling, cold-brewed, and traditionally at this bright, wood-paneled café in Mission District of San Francisco. While they don’t have a designated high tea experience, they have all the ingredients for the perfect DIY afternoon tea. Enjoy your favorite matcha varietal and order a smorgasbord of Japanese-inspired tea accompaniments like their black sesame cream puff and matcha cream pie.
Samovar Tea Lounge
Escape into an oasis of deep emerald and rushing waters while you enjoy your afternoon tea at this tea lounge nestled in Yerba Buena Gardens. The venue accommodates a global taste with their variety, from a Moorish-inspired mint tea paired with veggie kebabs to a Russian-style tea paired with borscht soup.
Japanese Tea Garden
Originally built as part of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, this fixture set in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge serves up tea with a side of history. As the oldest Japanese garden in the US, it features paths winding past koi ponds, pagodas, and peaceful Zen gardens maintained just as it was during the nineteenth-century. While acres of breathtaking scenery obviously add something extra to this teatime, the traditional Japanese fare – like red bean pancakes – and classic teas steal the show.
Argonaut Hotel // Hotel Zoe