Tea and conversation, it’s a perfect way to spend time together. Once, many years ago, in the Terasaki Garden of the Chado Tea Room, I enjoyed an afternoon of tea with a date. The menu was full of many different and exotic kinds of teas. Flavored teas, greens, blacks, whites, herbals.
Darjeeling tea, second flush, in the afternoon, was perfect in that moment.
In the early spring afternoon we sat together in silence, with only the sound of the gentle wind brushing the bamboo leaves. It was a peaceful garden, hidden away in the urban center of Little Tokyo, at a little table underneath an umbrella.
I was amazed by the tea selection, as the menu was extensive. White teas such as Chinese Yin Zhen Silver Needle, White Peony, and white tea pearls. Then the Indian whites, the Sri Lankan white teas. Loose leaf teas, blooming teas, tisanes, herbals, mate, and Chado Reserve blends. Green teas of many kinds, from Sri Lanka, India, China and Japan. Japanese Sencha, Houjicha, Mattcha, Bancha, Genmaicha.
“Cha” means “tea” in Japanese. In Mandarin and Cantonese, tea is pronounced chá with more of a t sound than a ch before saying chá. Try saying t-sah. Other dialects in and around Fujian, Malaysia, and Indonesia, cha sounds more like te or tèh.
Sitting outside, taking in the afternoon breeze, the Darjeeling arrived in a flowered teapot. The tea cup, a simple white porcelain. A proper menu of scones and tea sandwiches. A variety of scones: ginger, blueberry, cranberry-orange, apricot, black currant, and plain, served with cream, and/or topped with fruit, like strawberries, and jam: strawberry or apricot, or lemon curd which is something I cannot resist.
It’s a simple pleasure to enjoy the contemplative act of drinking tea.
Blueberry and ginger scones served with the luxuriant cream and jam— absolute pleasure. The ginger scone contained bursts of its true gingery nature. Each bite mingled with the cream, apricot jam, and fresh strawberries.
It’s possible this could be one of the most romantic moments two lovers can share together. Plan a date, to sit and have tea, then go for a walk through a garden or even down a busy street, because tea infuses a sense of peacefulness. As a romantic, enjoying tea together can bring you both together in heart and spirit.
Find a tea house or make some at home, and call it a romantic date, even if you treat yourself. There are many places to have tea, but I prefer the tea houses that serve high quality loose leaf tea in big teapots.
My favorite tea houses (and places for tea) in Los Angeles:
- Chado Tea Room, 369 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 258-2581
- Tea Rose Garden, 70 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, Ca 91103, (626)578-1144
- Hwa Sun Ji Tea House, 3960 Wilshire Blvd., #100, Koreatown, LA, CA 90010, (213) 382-5302
- Tea Station, 560 W. Main St. #A, Alhambra, CA 91801, (626) 289-7389
- The Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, (310) 440-7300
- Ten Ren, 727 N Hill St #136, Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 626-8844
- The Langham, 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106, (626) 568-3700
- Chinese Garden at The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, CA 91108, (626) 683-8131
- Jin Tea Shop, 18 West Green St., Pasadena, CA 91105, (626) 219-6040
- Chengdu Impression, 21 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91006, (626) 462-9999
In the teabowl / this tranquil moment / dreaming of a little spring
About the Art of Tea:
The art of tea ceremony according to Japanese-– (‘chado’ or ‘cha-no-yu’)
The art of drinking tea developed in Japan. It involves a host and a guest (or guests).
Tea, utensils, and movements used in preparing, serving, and drinking the tea are part of the ritual.
Tea was first introduced during the Song-dynasty of China by a Zen monk– Eisai (1141–1215).
Zen monks drank tea to help them stay alert during meditation.