Cuisine Scene: Tea
Tea, unlike its twitchy cousin coffee, is not often associated as a beverage to be taken on-the-go. While coffee pumps us up, tea is more commonly used to smooth things out, an elixir to relax with, perhaps even retreat into. And so, this list of some of Long Beach’s best tea sanctuaries not only takes into account the excellent quality of the tea–which is very excellent–but the atmosphere where it can be enjoyed, atmospheres that range from cozy to whimisical; charming spaces that’ll fit you, your taste and mood to a tea.
Rose Park Roasters
Though it’s one of the most praised and popular spots for coffee in the city, Rose Park’s (800 Pine Ave./3044 E. Fourth St./455 E. Ocean Blvd.) clean minimalist vibe and creative choices makes it a terrific destination for tea as well. f you’re at any of Rose Park’s three locations–told you it was popular–you’re likely to see more than a few artistic, creative types enjoyinig a cup while revitalizing or creating. Rose Park offers unique creations of its own, including their Lavender in the Fog, a black tea base that has a house made maple lavender syrup, steamed milk and orange zest added to it. The Mint Agave Matcha utilizes unsweetened matcha green tea with steamed milk–lots of people prefer coconut milk–with house made mint agave syrup.
Dream Come True Tea and Party Room
Stepping into Dream Come True’s (4350 Atlantic Ave.) Bixby Knolls tea room is like entering a whimsical, colorful new world of beautiful things and delicious treats. You can sit back and relax with a pot of tea–everything from Earl Grey to Butterscotch–and pair it with brunch items, tea sandwiches or scone with clotted cream and preserves. Dream Come True has both indoor and outdoor areas for enjoying your tea and treats. It also prides itself on providing fun-filled tea parties in its party room. The parties, which can be for kids or adults, come with food, desserts as well as games, dress-up costumes, face painting and sparkle makeup.
Cha For Tea
Located across the street from Cal State Long Beach, Cha For Tea (5720 E. Seventh St.) is a welcome refuge for harried students and professors alike. While it may be better known for its freshly made and balanced boba offerings, as well as yummy bites like crispy dumplings, Cha For Tea has a full, wide-ranging menu of hot tea including Almond Black Milk Tea–its most popular–Chai Milk Tea, brewed from natural chai, as well as the caffeine free Honey Rosebud. The space, with plenty of parking, is large enough to accommodate a group, while offering enough niches to allow someone to recede and refresh.
HOJAS TEA HOUSE
When it first opened its first location, nearly 15 years ago, Hojas Tea House (4501 E. Carson St.) stated its mission was not only to serve great tea but to provide a “positive environment, a community space.” That feeling is palpable when stepping inside Hojas, whether it’s the floral mural on the wall, fresh flowers placed around the space or simply the friends enjoying each other’s company while students sip their teas and get some homework done. Besides wonderful, loose leaf teas and tea latters, Hojas also sells a wide array of seasonal tarts, lemon and carrot bars, red velvet cupcakes as well as breakfast sandwiches and lunch items.
This venerable spot is well-known to locals for simply being one of the coziest spots in the city with its interior of sumptuous sofas, comfortable crannys and peaceful lighting that still allows you take down and enjoy one of the many, MANY, books on the shelves. The Library (3418 E. Broadway) not only features a wide selection of teas but other hot, non-coffee drinks such as hot apple cider and Mexican Hot Chocolate. The mismatched furnishings match the English drawing room vibe, and though you may not actually read any of the books, it’s somehow comforting to be surrounded by them and know you could if you wanted. And, if you want, you can also enjoy paninis, baked goods and the the very popular New York and Strawberry cheesecake.