Top 10 tea houses

Where East meets West over tea

8. Imperial Tea Court
 San Francisco Bay Area
The first traditional Chinese teahouse in the United States, this San Francisco classic was founded by Roy Fong, a Taoist priest and Hong Kong native who sources only the best Chinese teas. Although the original Chinatown location closed, the popularity of the current locations signals that teas have reached connoisseurs outside of the Asian community. $$; imperialtea.com, 415/544-9830 (San Francisco) or 510/540-8888 (Berkeley).

9. The Teahouse
 Santa Fe
“Where East meets the Wild West” is the tongue-and-cheek slogan of this Southwestern tea haven. Take advantage of the tea workshops: For only $25 and a five-person minimum, you can learn about everything from matcha to tea blending. $$; teahousesantafe.com or 505/992-0972.

10. Silk Road
 Victoria, B.C.
Stop in for a tasting (from $8.50 U.S.) at the tea bar, followed by a green tea facial (from $38 U.S.) in the attached spa. Further refine your knowledge at a weekend workshop (from $8.50 U.S.), where you can learn how to make a tea martini, for example. The modern Vancouver Island shop also sells oddities like tea bricks―which were once used as currency throughout China―and is appropriately placed in Victoria’s Chinatown. silkroadtea.com or 250/704-2688

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