A cup of tea might not be part of our daily routine here in the 209 like it is in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an option. We found four delightful tea houses in the 209 area with unique blends and spins on the traditional beverage.
My Detox Tea Lounge
A guest at My Detox Lounge in Tracy won’t find a China tea cup in the shop, but they will find a foot bath, an essential oil chamber and an infrared sauna.
My Detox Lounge is billed as an urban tea lounge and detox and is putting a new spin on the traditional tea house.
“People can come here and try a new experience,” said Lisa Williams, the shop manager. “It’s about slowing down and enjoying the moment you are in.”
The idea behind My Detox Lounge was to blend the health benefits of tea, like the antioxidants that can help some chronic diseases, with restorative practices for the mind, body and soul. It proved to be a winning combination with the shop routinely drawing in regular guests, as well as new visitors.
The detox services range from a Zaaz session on a whole body vibration machine to an essential oil chamber where clients can experience a combination of essential oil blends with color light and sound therapy. The most popular service is the ionic detox foot bath. The ions in the water work to pull out toxins from the body. My Detox Lounge offers 30 and 60 minute sessions.
My Detox Lounge offers a range of base teas like green and black and signature tea blends with options like cold-buster, focused-energy and Zen blend. Guests can also create their own teas by picking a base tea, an herbal fusion and a flavor to create a unique blend.
“It’s like tea artistry,” Williams said.
One of the more popular options is the allergy buster, which blends white and herbal teas with herbs for a sweet and savory taste that provides some allergy relief.
The shop also sells loose leaf teas, tea flights to sample the different blends and essential oil shots.
My Detox Lounge takes walk-ins and reservations. The shop also offers memberships to those who want to use the detox services regularly.
My Detox Lounge is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
917 N. Central Avenue
Located in the historic gold mining town, Columbia Kate’s is a tea house steeped in history and reflects the pioneer lifestyle that built the town.
“It’s an eclectic style,” said owner Clare Bazely. “Everything’s a mix and match. I love the aspect of repurposing. When I think of the pioneer days, people that traveled and made their lives in a place like this, they weren’t where they could just buy everything matched and perfect. They made do with what they had. My principle is make do with what I have. Our cups and saucers on the table are all orphans.”
That style is part of the overall charm at Columbia Kate’s, which set up shop in a building originally built in the 1890s as a barn. The first time it was a tea house was under the name of Sierra Gold Tea Company, which was owned by Kathryn McMahon. The shop closed in 2003, but McMahon had inspired Bazely and in 2007 she opened her tea house in the same spot and named it Columbia Kate’s in honor of McMahon. Six years after opening Bazely expanded the business with a bakery and a boutique located across the way.
“I call it one business under three roofs,” Bazely said.
The real star of Columbia Kate’s is the tea, which Bazely dedicated herself to learning more about before opening the shop. She’s taken blending classes, attended the World Tea Expo, and visited a Hawaiian plantation where tea is grown.
“I’ve always loved tea,” Bazely said. “It’s my number one beverage.”
The shop blends all the various loose leaf tea flavors offered on the menu for some unique and tasty creations. Bazely’s personal favorite is the button blend, with its mix of vanilla, caramel, mint and rose petals. It can be served hot or over ice, as can all the teas.
“I’ve had many guests who weren’t sure they were into tea until they have all the flavors from the loose leaf tea leaves brewed to the right time and temperature,” Bazely said. “All of a sudden, they’re like, ‘wow, I never knew I liked tea so much.’”
Columbia Kate’s offers three different options for a tea service with one option - the Motherlode Tea for Two - comes with four courses that includes scones, salads, tea sandwiches and desserts.
The shop also offers a selection of food items like praline pecan pear pie and bread puddings from the bakery, as well as sandwiches, soups, salads and some savory classics like chicken pot pie and tarragon meatloaf.
“We hear a lot of comments like, ‘that’s the best chicken pot pie I’ve had in my life,’” Bazely said.
The bakery makes all the baked goods for the tea shop, as well as items for the bakery cases. It is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
The boutique features consignment items from local artisans, antiques, including a large collection of antique buttons, and loose leaf tea.
The tea shop is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
22727 Columbia Street
The Hidden Tea Room
Tucked into a little shopping center located a few blocks from downtown Lodi is The Hidden Tea Room, where guests can step into an opulent dining room and slow down the pace of life over an elegant tea service.
The Hidden Tea Room was opened by Terrie Greetafter she found success with her first business, Corner Scone Bakery, which is located next door to the tea house.
“We were making scones in the bakery and I thought it would be kind of fun to do tea services,” Green said. “The space just lent itself to it.”
Tea services were only offered on the weekends after the bakery had closed and were routinely sold out, so Green started to look at expanding the business next door where an old bar had sat empty for two years.
Green transformed the space into a beautiful dining room with a grand chandelier hanging from the ceiling and fine china on the tables.
The Hidden Tea Room offers two types of tea services. Cream teas are served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with no reservations needed, unless it’s for parties of three or more. The service menu includes four options, which range in prices and offerings like warm tea scones, bakery-made desserts, tea sandwiches, and bottomless tea pots.
“It’s a little more casual just in that traditionally it was served at a quicker pace,” Green said.
The high tea service is an opportunity for guests to dress up and experience a decadent afternoon.
“We make this more formal,” Green said. “It’s five courses and it takes two hours. It starts with scones hot out of the oven and we serve it with a sweet butter and a lemon curd that we make and a jam. It’s followed by a sorbet, which is a palate cleanser, then a savory like a quiche and then another savory like a puff pastry filled with meat or cheese. Tea sandwiches cut into shapes come next. The last course is a dessert sampler with options like macaroons, lemon bars and toffee bars. It really does have a more elegant feel to it. On every level and every sense, it’s an experience.”
High tea service is available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Reservations must be made and children in attendance must be five years or older.
The weekends are also when The Hidden Tea Room holds some of its themed tea parties, like “Downton Abbey” or “Alice in Wonderland” tea parties and teddy bear teas for children. The shop also hosts private parties in the tea room and in their secluded patio.
The tea house has a gift shop and the staff can help guests select items to host their own tea parties, including the loose leaf tea, tea sets, fancy sugar cubes and delectable treats from the bakery.
310 N. California
Mango Tango Tea in Merced is a place where guests can enjoy a Taiwanese tea experience complete with drinks that are both delicious and eye-catching, and an array of divine desserts and other tasty foods like ramen noodle bowls. The K-Pop music in the shop is just the right music to complete the experience.
The shop sells hot and iced teas and has a loyal following for the green tea it carries, which is a high-quality variety imported from Japan. The shop uses the green tea in a number of drinks like the matcha ice cream milk green tea and the mixed fruit green tea.
Two often ordered teas at the shop are the butterfly teas, which uses the butterfly pea flowers mixed with tea and fruit. The combination creates beautiful drinks.
Mango Tango Tea’s dessert options include fruit-topped waffles, honey toasts and macaroons. But by far the most popular desserts are the crepes. The delicate crepes are wrapped around ice cream, Nutella, whipped cream, and fruit. The dish is topped with drizzled chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Mango Tango Tea is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.
1794 W. Olive Avenue