Friday, August 21, 2009

Imperial Tea Court

I just got my Imperial Tea Court (ITC) newsletter and thought I'd sing the praises of this company. It's one of my favorites. I took this photo, which I love, many years ago in the original tearoom in San Francisco. I remember so much from this day! I had a long walk to get to the tearoom, through parts of Chinatown. It was a crisp, sunny autumn morning. San Francisco was subdued. Along the way, I stopped to take photos of unusual fruits and Asian-style dresses in vibrant reds, greens and yellows. I was learning to use my Mom's metal-bodied Pentax, a great camera. I was pleased that I had found the tearoom on my own, as it was in a quiet neighborhood with a subtle sign.
I had an amazing conversation at the tearoom, not with Roy, but with one of his head staff. She introduced me to pu-erh teas. This was long before pu-erhs had experienced their recent fame. I tasted several, at first surprised by the aroma and flavor but refraining from a hasty judgement to allow for finding the sweetness on my tongue in the aftertaste. I treasure that moment and memory. I was the only one in the tea room and had the pleasure of soaking in the slanted light, the clay teapots, the aroma and flavor of the pu-erhs, and the tutorial from the tea expert.

Alas, this tearoom has closed. But there are others in the
San Fran/Berkeley area.

Roy Fong is one of our leading US experts in tea, especially Chinese teas. He's an interesting man - check out his bio.

A few years ago, Mom gave me a subscription to an ITC tea club. It was so much fun! I highly encourage it as a gift to your special tea lover. (It is pricey, tho there are options.) Here are additional resources for more info about the Imperial Tea Court:

8 comments:

Marilyn Miller said...

One of these days I need to go there.

Lady Katherine said...

What a great experience you had at the tea room it was great. Too bad it closed. Mothers are so nice to give you the things you love!

Teafan said...

You describe the scene well! I can walk along with you.

parTea lady said...

Thanks for the info on the Imperial Tea Court. Maybe some day I'll actually try pu-erh tea, if I can get past the smell.

I did play the "what tea are you" game and was not surprised to be a black tea.

Angela McRae said...

Very newsy and interesting post! Can't way to see what kind of tea I am!

Virginia @ Imperial Tea said...

Steph, thank you for sharing these great memories of the original Imperial Tea Court! We love hearing customers' recollections of their experiences. It brings back all the good times we had there ourselves. Let us know sometime when you're coming to one of our teahouses. We'd enjoy sharing tea and hearing more about your love for fine tea.

marlena said...

I love the pictures! Some of those teapots are wonderous.

Jason Witt said...

Isn't it wonderful to know about Pu-erh tea? It's really living the life. --Spirituality of Tea