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Imperial Tea Court (San Francisco CA)
||1411 Powell Street,|
San Francisco, CA 94133
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2005 Issue: 12(3) page: 30
Not a restaurant, but clearly the place to go to learn about, sip, and savor. Here one can drink fine tea or purchase some to take home. While they do serve tea snacks, some specially selected traditional sweet and savory ones, there is a limited selection to accompany the tea, and a necessity if tasting more than one.
Teas can come in a gaiwan or covered teacup (the spelling throughout this review is theirs). Or as a gong fu presentation. Both are always available, the latter in a smaller unglazed purple clay, sometimes called ‘purple sand’ from what their menu calls the ‘Jiangsu' Province.
This tea house, all component parts shipped numbered and in pieces to be reassembled here, serves many kinds of tea. They have Imperial teas, green teas, oolong teas, white teas, black teas, pu-er teas, scented teas, and herbal infusions. More than fifty are listed on their many-page menu, some so limited that they can be out of stock sometimes. All very fresh and many are so wonderful, that selecting is difficult, but worth the discussion required before you do. The cost per pot (usually two to eight dollars, per person) is a valuable investment in learning what you like before you make a purchase.
We stop by on most trips, to indulge in several pots of different teas then compare them. This tea court has a website for learning and acquiring, if San Francisco is not in ones travel plans; it is www.imperialtea.com We like to do that, and when short on time we simply enjoy old favorites.