Best Tea in Orange County!
There is nothing more enjoyable than a warm cup of tea between your fingers on a chilly day—or on any day, in my case. Soft, white steam pouring upwards from the cup will soothe and relax you when you’re stressed. The gentle flavors of mixed herbs and rejuvenated flower petals taste light and sweet, while the rich, earthy tones behind green and black teas provide a bitter essence strong enough to get you through the day. But where in Orange County can you go to find such serenity?
Best Loose Leaf Shop:
If you’re looking for some gorgeous and unique tea to steep at home, you might want to try Lupicia. Located immediately to the left when entering the Mitsuwa Market, Lupicia is a small corner shop that has a huge selection of White, Green, Black, and Oolong teas. Don’t be shy to smell and test all of the wild flavors they sell, like Grape green tea, Pineapple Oolong, and Yume, or “Dream” black tea. And we couldn't possibly forget about Au Chocolate, their chocolate scented black tea! Trust me, it has a striking resemblance to a literal chocolate bar.
You can ask the sweet ladies to steep any tea you would like for a tester, and on my personal recommendation you should make a point to try their Momo black tea. At only $6.00 per 50g, Momo is a soft and sweet Japanese peach tea. The peach taste is subtle, and blends beautifully with the wholesomeness of black tea. I drink an entire pot of this tea nearly every night! (I wish I were kidding).
While you’re in the area, you should check out some of the tea pots and sets they carry in the market. Cast Iron teapots are my absolute favorite to drink from, and they have plenty at Mitsuwa.
Best Tea Experience:
Mckenna’s tea cottage is like a dream come true for any tea lover. Especially if you like fine china, finger sandwiches, and classical music; oh, and don’t even get me started on their scones, pure deliciousness!
This quaint mom-and-pop shop located in Seal Beach, with about three parking spots in total, is one of the most relaxing destinations I’ve been to to enjoy a cup of tea. I highly recommend ordering the Lady Hamilton, which constitutes a platter holding five separate finger sandwiches, one large, cloud-like scone served with clotted cream and jam, and an entire pot of tea of your choosing. The list of loose leaf teas they carry is impressive to say the least, consisting of Vanilla Chai, Darjeeling, Pomegranate, Birthday Cake, and Lavender Lace among others. My personal favorite is the Almond tea. It is thick and nutty, and was practically made to champion all the sugar cubes and creamer they supply.
The pots of tea they give are enormous, so you can spend all day talking quietly and clicking silverware like proper English gentlemen and gentlewomen!
Tip: Make a reservation! They do not always except walk-ins, as they are a pretty small location.
Best Tea Shop Chain
Whether you want delicious hot tea, iced milk tea, or a yummy snack, you can find it at Tea Station. One of Tea Station's best selling points for me would be their hours of operation! Tea Station doesn’t close until the wee hours of the night, so you can soothe your craving for some devilishly sweet milk tea with boba at almost anytime.
You can buy a multitude of fresh loose leaf teas by the pot, and share it amongst friends in a casual atmosphere. Tea Station even serves mouthwatering hot milk teas by the pot! The Tapioca milk tea is mildly sweet and very thick, and I must confess, I get it every time I go. Their hot teas are equally as tasty. They carry the basics like Black and Ginger tea, as well as some more outgoing flavors like Mixed Fruit and Longan Ginseng Goji Berry.
Although this doesn't technically count as "tea", the Tea Station has a wide variety of tea flavored noodles! Who could possibly resist some steaming Pu-Erh Flavored Beef Stew with Green Tea Noodles? Of course I’d have to polish those off after some Tea Flavored Dumplings, and end the day with a Red Bean Soup with Rice Balls. I know, I know… I'm getting off track here, but everything is just so good!
Thank you so much for reading about our favorite tea shops in Orange County. Let us know some other shops to try, or even some specific loose leaf recommendations in the comments below!