Satori Tea Bar October/November 2014 83 from top: courtesy of satori tea bar; Michele Magdalena Funky, whimsical, out-of-the-box. However you boil it down, this place is not your grandmother’s tea parlor. Owned by 29-year-old Victoria Boyert, Satori has white cathedral ceilings and track lighting glowing over walls slicked in raspberry, black and powder blue. Regal silver tea pots and mix-and-match china sit on retro tablecloths, and billowing pink, yellow and white tissue paper balls dangle on ribbons. The casual setting is underscored by young servers clad in their street clothes. Perhaps the most formal thing about Satori is the tiered presentation of finger-sized foods—sliced fruit, scones, tea sandwiches and grandma’s rum butter for the crumpets. Boyert sells about 125 types of teas and she blends leaves herself to come up with signature brews. Gwennie’s Baked Apple is a mixture of black and green tea, cinnamon and dried apple bits. Boyert began selling loose leaf tea at farmers markets and decided after two years that she needed a storefront. Now weekends at the tearoom are the busiest times, but customers come in daily to buy teas to go. (Satori validates downtown parking.) For Boyert, “It’s all about the service and the experience, to be able to come in and forget your troubles and to enjoy a cup of tea.” Location: 37 N. San Pedro St., San Jose. www.satoriteausa.com Tea Time Tea aficionados from Stanford and tourists from around the globe gather at this community hangout for the al fresco setting and the large assortment of interesting blends. The shop is so personal and friendly that customers who purchase a teacup can keep their treasure in a display cabinet onsite and fill it whenever they come in. Loose leaf teas and tea blends are stored in small jars, a fact that encourages customers to open and sniff the leaves so they can determine which flavor they want. While small, Tea Time carries more than 100 selections from China, Japan, Sri Lanka and India. Owner Tim Pham says that he selects only teas from the world’s top farms, and he and partner Thao Nguyen make their own healthy, no-caffeine blends of herbs, dried fruits and spices. Tea Time also serves food items to go with the preferred beverage—scones, macaroons, sandwiches and salads—and the shop’s popular tea classes often sell out. A fall “Introduction to Tea” lasts two hours and covers tea lifestyle, health benefits and origins of the beverage. Location: 542 Ramona St., Palo Alto. www.tea-time.com. Hidden Peak TeaHouse David Wright, founder, views tea as an opportunity to promote human interaction, and that’s why customers are asked to ditch their electronic devices when entering. Tucked in an alley off Pacific Avenue, the tearoom is a softly lit 1,500-square-foot space filled with an array of silver canisters and tea accessories—clay Chinese pots, tea bricks, tea sets and tea trays. Most interesting are the individually carved Chinese wood tables with drainage holes so customers can rinse their tea. Groupings of these tables and assorted chairs invite people to sit alone or with friends. As the staff spins vinyl tunes on a record player, guests peruse a library of books and find board games to enjoy. Outdoors, a plant-filled patio, Chinese tables and statuary welcome the weary soul—including the local postal worker who steps in during his daily break for the 99-cent special. Hidden Peak carries 50 to 60 tea types, with dark pu-erh being a specialty of the house. About puerh, Wright says, “There is no astringency and the whole feeling in your body is one of feeling good; you can drink it all day long.” He sees tea as an integrated part of life. “In the Eastern tradition, when you partake in tea, everything feels different. Tea helps initiate social engagement, and it is such an easy thing to do on a daily basis.” Location: 1541-C Pacific Av e., Santa Cruz. www.hiddenpeakteahouse.com.
South Bay Accent - Oct/Nov 2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above