Tea shops are a rare thing in the United States, where coffee is king. When you stumble upon one that sells high quality tea, and even better offers an opportunity to sit for tea, it’s such a beautiful thing. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to seek out tea shops in the area. Here is a sampling of some places I’ve found in the U.S. throughout my travels. I favor Asia based teas and shops over British ones, so the former is what’s listed below, but the latter you can also find in various cities in the U.S. Also a fun experience.
Ku Cha House of Tea
If you’ve never experienced a true genuine experience of the Eastern culture first hand, Ku Cha House of Tea is your destination. Tea aficionados will enjoy this extraordinary traditional Chinese tea shop that aims to bring a little piece of Chine to the local community. Like no other tea shop in Denver, Ku Cha House of Tea boasts 170 high quality loose leaf teas. Every tea drinker is sure to find their particular taste of choice and even specialty teas that simply cannot be found in the United States. Highly trained employees offer specific knowledge for everyone’s unique tea palate.
Probably my favorite tea shop in the country. The tea itself is top notch, some of the best quality tasting tea I’ve come across. They offer a large selection. If you’re in Colorado, you not only purchase tea, but also stop in for a single serve. The Boulder store also has a sit down area for tasting in their lovely open area in the back.
Locations: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, CO
We are die-hard tea lovers with a love and deep respect for traditional farming, Fair Trade practices, and high-quality necessities. And, of course, we are foodies to the core. Zhi Tea is a homegrown Austin, Texas, company. We are quite active in our community; we participate in many foodie/local/sustainable events throughout the year and even won a “Local Heroes Award” through the Edible Communities for 2009. We design and blend our own tea.
Great local tea shop where you can buy tea directly from the shop and also sit down for a tea flight at this wonderful space. Several local restaurants also carry their tea. High quality and great tasting.
Location: Austin, TX
Seven Cups Fine Chinese Teas
Seven Cups specializes in sourcing the freshest teas directly from tea makers across China. Our teahouse menu features over 70 high-quality, loose-leaf Chinese teas and a small selection of snacks for you to enjoy as you drink your tea. Our teas have given us international recognition, but we remain a neighborhood destination, with free Wi-Fi and a quiet spot to spend hours with our great selection of teas.
One of my favorite tea houses with great quality tea available for purchase and also the option to sit down for tea. They also serve snacks. Very knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Yellow Mountain Tea House
We have more than 300 of different varieties of teas, like green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea, pu-erh tea and herbal teas. Most of the teas are from China, some of them from Japan, South Africa, South America. We also do a Chinese tea ceremony. We also have organic Dim sum, like Chinese dumplings, steamed bums, xiao long bao, rice pearl meat ball, family recipe summer roll, fried rice cakes and so on. You’ll able to come in do a tea ceremony and have some organic food with it.
Wonderful local spot tucked away on the edge of Old Colorado City where you can purchase loose leaf teas, sit down for a tea tasting, and eat hand made dumplings along with other snacks, including gelato.
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
We founded Teaism in 1996 with the goal of making exquisite loose leaf tea accessible to all. In a time and place where tea was conceived as either a dark powder in a bag with a string – to be sweetened heavily and discarded – or a stuffy afternoon affair with china and linens, we wanted to highlight the beautiful diversity of the camellia sinensis plant itself. We wanted our guests to be enrolled in their choice to drink tea and have a relationship to the leaf. To accompany the teas, and to highlight the cuisines of countries where teas are grown, we served curries, bento boxes, and other healthy Asian-inspired meals. Teaism’s offerings were prepared in a rustic, fast-casual setting, many years before “fast casual” became a dining term.
My first real tea experience located in Washington, DC. Wonderful spot with snacks and excellent tea. Great date spot. The Penn Quarter location, at least when I was there last, had a quite secluded lower level with tables and a koi fish pond. Sit for tea or grab takeaway.
Location: Washington, DC (multiple locations)
The Steeping Room
Huge variety of tea for purchase and to sit down and enjoy. Full food menu of healthy organic food as well.
Location: Austin, TX
Vital Tea Leaf offers a modern twist on the traditional notion of Chinese tea. Modeled after a wine bar with complimentary tastings, and offering the finest loose leaf teas from China and Taiwan with a selection of more than one hundred varieties. In addition to loose leaf teas, herbal infusions, and flower blossoms, we also offer an assortment of glass, porcelain, purple clay teapots, and other tea accessories. Our shop has been featured on many international culinary and travel television shows. Our most memorable show was featured on Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, where he was given an introductory course on Chinese tea by our great Uncle Gee.
My first ever tea tasting experience. Uncle Gee is hilarious and this was one of my favorite places to take visitors when I lived in the area. Very fun and good tea.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Spice & Tea Exchange
The Spice & Tea Exchange was founded in 2008, by a group of talented individuals with a passion for life and food. What started as a small shop St. Augustine, Florida, has quickly grown into a nation-wide franchise powered by flavor, passionate franchise owners, and a desire to bring flavorful ingredients to your kitchen.
They feature a variety of traditional Chinese, Japanese, English, herbal, and custom blended teas. Each shop is a bit different and always provides a nice selection. Unfortunately no sit down tea tasting.
Locations: Many Around the U.S.
Spice & Tea Merchants
What a wonderful spice and tea shop with a huge variety, unique blends, and high quality. I stumbled upon this place in Breckenridge, CO and was so glad I did.
Location: Multiple in the U.S.
Samovar Tea House
Samovar was born from the realization that our society is focused on the wrong things. Samovar is an alternate reality. A place where we can step out of the rat race. A place where we invite people to slow down, to inhabit the present moment, to disconnect in order to connect. People come in for the delicious, healthy food and drink. They leave with their spirits elevated, nourished, and re-energized.
Great tea spot in the heart of San Francisco that offers good tea and good atmosphere.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Goldfish Tea is a contemporary tea house offering more than 125 varieties of high quality loose leaf tea as well as unique tea accessories and gifts. We also offer bubble tea, smoothies, iced tea, Michigan roasted coffee by Populace Coffees and espresso, hot chocolate and lattes. We have snacks and a variety of in-house made baked goods are available, including cookies, muffins, French macarons and we are now serving Mochi as well.
Perfect combination of single serve to go loose leaf and bubble teas with sit down cafe. Something for everyone, nice variety, and high quality loose leaf tea.
Location: Royal Oak (Detroit), MI
Northeast Tea House
My dream is to establish Northeast Tea House as a get-away from the distractions and anxieties of our modern world, while serving the best matcha and loose leaf teas possible. Designed as a calming, meditative space, NTH revolves around the remarkable ability of tea, when prepared and consumed in manners that are centuries old, to inhibit anxiety and reinforce a powerful sense of calm and mindfulness. In addition, our themes include friendship, conversation, thoughtfulness and a deep appreciation for tea’s flavors and East Asian culture.
Great owner, beautifully calm tea house, great tea selection, high quality loose leaf tea, and a matcha mill for converting the leaves into powder.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Fava Tea Company
Fava Tea Company is Wisconsin’s largest loose tea specialty retail store, offering over 350 rare, standards, and unique specialty teas.
Unique loose leaf tea blends, friendly knowledgeable staff, interesting variety of traditional Asian and English teas. Not the strongest flavors upon brewing, but spawns ideas of different blends, experiments, and taste profiles. I don’t typically drink blends, but this place inspires tea creativity.
Location: Madison, WI
Stumbled upon this place that is only open partially throughout the day. High quality loose leaf teas, a tea bar, and friendly owners nestled in the backdrop of incredible natural beauty.
Location: Sedona, AZ
At ArtfulTea, we’re passionate about quality tea! We enjoy sampling teas from all over the world. But what delights us most is introducing others to the many pleasures of great tea. Our collection includes over 100 exceptional teas, many of which are blended by hand right in our store. We also carefully package each and every tea by hand to ensure that our luxury loose leaf tea is as beautifully presented as it is tasty.
Nice little retail shop with some really interesting tea choices I’ve not seen elsewhere. Unfortunately no tea tasting.
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Savoy Tea Co.
We source tea from tea gardens and family farms all over the world: China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, South Africa, Argentina.
Another unexpected, yet wonderful discovery. Retail store, tea tasting, and single serve options. More of a blended type of tea shop, but has a lot of variety.
Location: Fayetville, AR
Old Barrel Tea Company
Specialty teas, spices, tea accessories, raw & unfiltered honey, locally-made woodwick candles, and gifts galore.
More of a blended tea shop that your typical traditional Asia teas, this shop has some really unique blends, some of which are medicinal, some which taste like desert.
Location: Las Cruces, NM
L’Entranger Books & Tea
A small wooden house hidden behind trees where great books, tea, shakes & smoothies, good food, the best chai tea and selected movies can be found! Everything you need to feel cozy and homey far away from home.
Awesome bookstore that serves tea and light food fare. Their mulberry green tea is one of the best teas I’ve ever had.
Location: Luang Prabang, Laos