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Monday, January 11, 2016

Find the Perfect Cuppa at Sophie's Cuppa Tea

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 12:30 PM

A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
“Are you looking for a tea?” asks a kind-faced man with curly gray hair and glasses.

“I didn’t think I was,” I respond. “But I guess I am now.”

I’ve just wandered into Sophie’s Cuppa Tea, a tea market and sipping spot on Antioch Court in Oakland's Montclair Village. I was, I admit, on my way to do some writing at the Peet’s down the street, when the red paper lanterns caught my attention through the window.

The man behind the counter — who I later find out is owner John Brown — offers to help me figure out what I’m after. Do I want more caffeine, less caffeine, no caffeine? Do I like floral, herbal, sweet, smoky, fruity, honey, or the pure taste of tea? I opt for something smoky and Brown delves further into my palate preferences.

“Can I ask if you're a scotch drinker and do you like the flavor of smoke in your scotch?” he poses.

I think about scotch and I smile.

“Yes,” I answer. "Unquestionably, yes."  I am one of the more indecisive people that I know and there are precious few decisions that I make quickly. I am grateful for Brown's spot-on assistance.

"I think I'll start you off with the Smokey Pine," he offers.

"Sounds great," I say.

"I'll brew it strong if that's okay. Most smoky scotch drinkers tend to like the Smokey Pine strong."

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Eating Your Way Through the Victorian Era at the Dickens Fair

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Don't tell my family I used this photo of them - ALI WUNDERMAN
  • Ali Wunderman
  • Don't tell my family I used this photo of them

Victorian London was a magical era, with orphans cementing their pickpocketing skills while Jack the Ripper eviscerated prostitutes. Despite this, San Francisco’s own annual Dickens Christmas Fair celebrates all the things that made it a great time to be alive.

For five weekends leading up to Christmas, the Cow Palace in Daly City hosts a veritable holiday festival that looks and feels like Victorian England. Corseted ladies dance the waltz with dapper fancy men in top hats while the Queen and her royal guard meander through the streets to say hello to all us commoners. You might spy guests dressed like a Doctor Who character or in full Raiders fan garb, but the carolers and pirates singing sea shanties quickly bring your attention back to Dickens-era London.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Place to Raise Your Pinkies in Rockridge

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 4:30 PM

The Tea Room is a new place in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood that offers afternoon tea. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • The Tea Room is a new place in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood that offers afternoon tea.

While fancy hotels in San Francisco are the places to go for afternoon tea, a new place has just appeared in Rockridge, allowing East Bay-ers to get their fill of scones with clotted cream and pastries: The Tea Room has opened recently on College Avenue.

Customers of the Great Wall restaurant — a place known for Chinese vegetarian dishes made with mock meat — will recognize the Tea Room immediately, as the restaurant has now been split in half (a curtain divides the two, though they each have their own entrance). The Tea Room itself has been given a significant upgrade with fresh paint and new seats.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Checkin' in on Mid-Market's Chai Bar

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Sometimes you want tea, and you want it without a room full of cats. While Hayes Valley’s KitTEa opened to great acclaim last month, Chai Bar by David Rio has been serving elephant vanilla chai and matcha lattes just off of Sixth and Market Streets for a little while longer. We’ve stopped in twice in the last week, and it’s a pleasant departure from the long run of coffee-centric cafes that have been sprouting up along Mid-Market in the last few months (and no shade thrown at any of them, either).

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Caffeine Scene: Give the Gift of Matcha This Holiday Season

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM


Green tea is forecasted to be a continuing hot trend to drink and eat, and matcha, known widely as the mother of all green tea, is especially hot. Matcha traditionally is tea leaves that are selected and ground; the powder from these whole tea leaves is then carefully measured, sifted, scooped and whisked with water that is not hotter than 80 degrees.

It can be frothy fun, and Oakland-based author and food poet Annelies Zijderveld is a tea expert; look for her new book Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (Andrews McMeel Publishing) next April. Zijderveld helped suss out some hot holiday tea finds, sharing her matcha wisdom along the way.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Craftsman and Wolves Opens a Small Window for Afternoon Tea

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Afternoon tea for two at Craftsman and Wolves. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Afternoon tea for two at Craftsman and Wolves.

We've been wanting to try the afternoon tea service at Craftsman and Wolves since it began in October, but due to its specialty nature, it is only served from 1-5 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday so it took some time to catch it during this small window. However, after experiencing it yesterday, we think this window is definitely worth opening for its delightful surprises, which change according to the whim of C+W.

See Also:

- Craftsman and Wolves Takes an Extra Step With Peanut Butter Cookies

- French-Inspired Candied Milk Jams Get a California Remix

- Preview Craftsman and Wolves, Opening on June 16

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chai Cart Opens Second Location

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

The Chai Cart's latest mobile station. - PAAWAN KOTHARI
  • Paawan Kothari
  • The Chai Cart's latest mobile station.

The Chai Cart has secured a second permanent location. Sippers can now find it at Market and Drumm streets weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with extended hours expected in the new year. This joins the original cart which is a few blocks up the street at 545 Market. Weekends, the original cart is stationed at 560 Valencia.

See Also:

- Tea at The Top of The Mark Includes The Best City Views

- Lovejoy's Tea Room Offers New Modern Flavors and 'Keep Calm' Merchandise

- Canadian Tea-tailer DAVIDsTEA Opens First San Francisco Shop

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tea at The Top of The Mark Includes The Best City Views

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM

CONNIE PEREZ-WONG
  • Connie Perez-Wong

Holiday tea at Top of The Mark, located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, is worth considering as an annual mini-splurge to have a taste of luxury in San Francisco. The almost 360-degree views of the city offer a cool feng shui-esque moment of feeling on top of the world. Put your pinkies up for a sip, a generous amount of food, and a choice of settings: One is a good bet for children, and one is more suited to adult tastes.

See Also:

- Tour The Old Mint and Sip Tea With San Francisco Museum & Historical Society

- Lovejoy's Tea Room Offers New Modern Flavors and 'Keep Calm' Merchandise

- Canadian Tea-tailer DAVIDsTEA Opens First San Francisco Shop

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tour The Old Mint and Sip Tea With San Francisco Museum & Historical Society

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Peek inside the Old Mint on December 7. - SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM & HISTORICAL SOCIETY
  • San Francisco Museum & Historical Society
  • Peek inside the Old Mint on December 7.

San Francisco Museum and Historical Society began throwing its annual Holiday Tea inside the Old Mint Building in 2009 as a fundraiser. The organization does a lovely job decking out a high-ceiling room formerly used for gold counting with winter wonderland flair to set a classic backdrop for the traditional English ritual (tea, finger sandwiches, and other tiny notions). This year's event takes place on December 7.

See Also:

- Old Mint Rolls Out Three Weeks of Culinary Events

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Canadian Tea-tailer DAVIDsTEA Opens First San Francisco Shop

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:45 PM

DAVIDsTEA's first Bay Area location is on Polk Street. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • DAVIDsTEA's first Bay Area location is on Polk Street.

DAVIDsTEA opened its first San Francisco shop on August 25. The Canadian tea-tailer launched in 2008 and now has 78 locations across Canada, where it has helped to popularize the idea of loose tea, and it's now making serious inroads in the Bay Area. Eater SF reports that a Noe Valley (3870 24th St.) shop opens on September 22 followed by a Burlingame (1400 Burlingame Ave.) outpost on September 29.

Wander inside the Polk Street shop and the clean look reminds of a cosmetic counter. A wall is divided among white, green, black, pu'erh, maté, rooibos, and herbal, and you'll immediately be encouraged to start looking at and smelling canisters of loose tea.

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