Inventive tea makes us happy. And if you can combine tea, sunshine, and Mexican food, we’re even happier. As a research and discovery expedition, we boldly set out 3,000 miles from MIA to LAX to check out Los Angeles’ thriving tea culture. Like modern day explorers, we carefully planned our route:
We stopped by some of the most fantastic tea houses in LA, awesome people doing really creative stuff. First up was Funnel Rare Coffee and Tea in Santa Monica. CJ was behind the bar and his expert techniques made the blends sing. We had a lovely rare English milk tea - mellow notes and just enough creaminess:
Next up, we went to T-Tea Shop in the Downtown LA Farmers Market. The selection here was insane:
Green, oolong, white, black - they had everything from all over the world. We bought an iced mango white (incredibly refreshing) and took home a bourbon rooibos, a non-caffeinated blend of red rooibos with notes of honey, sugar, and yes, bourbon. It made for a fantastic after-dinner “drink” (we may or may not have mixed it with actual bourbon).
We then headed to Koreatown for two stops: Brew Well and Café Korobukgur.
Brew Well is an oasis tucked into the parking lot of a Korean grocery store. Inventive blends, homey atmosphere, and tipping included choosing between Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. Fantastic “brewcommunity.”
Café Korobokgur invites you to take a break. Like a casino, you can spend hours there and not realize it. Unlike a casino, it does not smell of stale cigarettes and well vodka. It is a lovely café with a pretty adorable gnome as a mascot. We really enjoyed their Moroccan mint and the ingenious way in which they served the looseleaf – with individual tea “presses” for each cup.
Our last stop took us to Pasadena. ( Side note: Do not believe a Los Angelino when he or she says “oh don’t worry, it’s really close.” Really close in LA means 15 miles. It’s like telling someone to pick you up from the Fort Lauderdale airport because it’s “really close.” End of rant.) These ladies were very happy that they made this trek because Pasadena is truly beautiful and holds a fantastic gem in the Chado Tea Room. Over 300 teas from all over the world and holy moly, their scones. We dream about their scones.
LA was an incredible trip for us. We learned so much but also validated our experience and dedication to our craft. Hoping to get back soon!