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Best places for tea in Los Angeles

Not every tea house is created equal. We've scoured the city to find the perfect tearoom for everyone—whether you like a cup of Earl Grey in a garden or a tea latte at 4am.

Photograph: Courtesy the Langham Hotel Pasadena
Tea service at the Langham Hotel Pasadena

It's always tea time in Los Angeles, where tea house options abound for a fresh cup day or night. Whether you're fiending for a caffeine fix at a Koreatown cafe, forgoing juice bars for a more herbal remedy or in the mood for sipping and snacking to your heart's content at brunch, here's what these tea houses are brewing around town.

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Best tea served with bubbly: Peninsula Beverly Hills

Pinkies up! For a spot of afternoon tea served in style, make your way to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. The luxurious affair takes place three times each day against the backdrop of the opulent Living Room, complete with plush sofas, two fireplaces and the music of a classical harpist. Opt for the Royal Tea, with highlights such as a glass of champagne, strawberries and whipped cream, and a menu of 19 loose-leaf teas; or the more extravagant Imperial Tea, which includes a serving of caviar cake and a take-home sponge and passion-fruit mousse Cap cake, modeled after the traditional headgear worn by pageboys at the Peninsula Hong Kong in the 1920s. Tea Service: Royal Tea, $50 per person; Imperial Tea, $60 per person

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Beverly Hills

Best (and largest!) tea selection: Chado Tea Room

Find yourself steeped in a world of tea at Chado Tea Room Downtown (the chain has two other locations as well: Hollywood and Pasadena). This tea house offers more than 300 varieties to choose from, including an extensive selection of hand-tied flowering teas and hard-to-find exotic teas. Seek out the menu of salads, soups, sandwiches and sweets, served side-by-side with afternoon tea throughout the day. Visitors can purchase single cups or try the tea tasting, which includes a lesson in the drink's history, origins and production. Tea Service: $13-$20 per person

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Little Tokyo
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Best late-night tea: Gunpowder

Satisfy your loose-leaf cravings around the clock at Venice’s Gunpowder tea lab and workspace, a new safe haven for insomniacs and tea fans pulling all-nighters. Don’t expect to find a drop of coffee at this beachside lounge—open 24 hours a day—although the Gunshot, a blend of roasted chicory, cacao, dandelion and guayusa, certainly resembles an espresso. Menu highlights include refreshing fruit-infused teas alongside tea-based energy shots—sure to perk you up as you buckle down to work with your laptop at the communal table or in the comfy living room area. Tea prices vary

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Venice

Best tea for tots: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Everyone loves a fine cup of tea—kids included. So it’s no surprise that Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air’s Little Royals service every Friday and Saturday is a hit with the young'uns. Here, toasted hazelnut chocolate and banana crostini are served alongside raspberry Linzer cookies, dulce de leche alfajores, and a selection of herbal teas including fresh mint and the house-made rejuvenation blend (apricot essence, lemon myrtle, rooibos and rosehips). Princes and princesses also leave with a parting gift of a stuffed swan, a nod to the property’s resident herd, Athena, Hercules and Chloe. Tea Service: $60 per adult, $36 per child

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Bel Air
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Best chocolate tea: The Lobby Lounge at The Langham Hotel Pasadena

If Willie Wonka were to throw a party, it would undoubtedly be at Chocolate Afternoon Tea, held every Sunday at The Langham Hotel Pasadena. Here, everything from savory tea sandwiches to scones and fruit tarts are infused with—you guessed it—chocolate. Enjoy the sugar rush with the hotel’s fine tea offerings or, for the ultimate indulgence, sips of pure liquid chocolate. If that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to the chocolate fountain and sculptural chocolate art. Not a sugar fan? The lobby lounge has a Tiffin tea service Monday through Saturday, serving a variety of teas and snacks. Chocolate Tea Service: $59 per adult, $29.50 per child (under 12)

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Pasadena

Best tea served with sweets: Valerie Echo Park

Wake up and smell the tea! Following in the footsteps of her über-successful sweets spot Valerie Confections, Valerie Gordon’s Echo Park Tea House & Bakery puts a modern twist on a traditional concept, offering a full breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch alongside an extensive tea selection—including must-try tisane (herbal tea), loaded with herbs grown locally at Silver Lake Farms. Fill up on flavorful fare like curried chicken or cheese and chutney sandwiches (available in tea- or full-size)—and leave room for Gordon’s signature petit fours. Tea prices vary

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Echo Park
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Best perfectly brewed tea: American Tea Room

At Beverly Hills’ American Tea Room, it all boils down to technology. This modern tea house is the only spot in California (and one of just three in America) to boast the BKON brewing system, capable of brewing the perfect cup of tea in 60 seconds. Belly up to the in-store bar to sample from the unrivaled selection of teas, including bestselling flavors such as Earl Grey Shanghai, Nirvana and Martinique, all hand-picked by owner David Barenholtz during his regular tea explorations around the globe. Craving a more traditional affair? The afternoon tea service comes with a pot of tea and snacks, like salmon tartlets and petit fours. Tea Service: $25 per person

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Downtown Arts District

Best healing tea: 9021Pho

Feeling under the weather? Kimmy Tang, chef and founder of 9021Pho (we're digging the tongue-in-cheek name, too), will brew a masterful cup of tea to tackle your ailments. A full-flavored cup of hot green lotus tea promises relaxation, while a vitamin C-packed, smooth-flavored long jing green tea brims with benefits, serving as both an aid in digestion, and a boost to the immune system. Stop by one of five locations for a healing brew alongside tasty signature menu items, like the pho bo or banh mi sandwich. Tea prices vary

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Agoura Hills/Westlake
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Best Downton Abbey-themed tea: Rose Tree Cottage

Traditional English afternoon tea service takes center stage at Pasadena’s Rose Tree Cottage tea house, served three times a day, Tuesday through Sunday. Nibble on classics from across the pond, including cucumber sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding as you sip on the house’s signature loose-leaf tea, served in delicate Royal Crown Derby and Royal Doulton tea sets. Don’t miss occasional special affair teas, including the annual celebration of reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, as well as Downton Abbey-themed gatherings—sure to delight your inner Lady Mary. Tea Service: $37.50 per person

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Pasadena

Best tea for art lovers: Getty Villa

For a cup of tea with a serving of art, hightail it to the Pacific Palisade’s Getty Villa where, on Thursdays and Saturdays, you can experience the institution’s culinary side through the Tea by the Sea program. Start in the Founder’s Room with a view overlooking the oceanside villa, where you sip on a selection of teas and nibble on treats from a Mediterranean-influenced spread featuring fruits and herbs grown in the property’s recreation of a first-century Roman garden. Ready to burn off some calories? Stroll through the grounds with a guided tour, including 23 galleries which boast an enviable collection of ancient Greek and Roman antiquities. Tea Service: $36 per person

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Pacific Palisades
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