A new strain of drinking tea that has made its way to Honolulu, and it doesn’t include old English ladies chatting over porcelain cups and wearing fancy feathered hats. The Tea Farm Café offers a modern yet classy approach to tea for enthusiasts and newbies.
Just minutes from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, this new tea joint has a little bit of that intellectual college study vibe but welcomes anyone from the scholarly kid who’s nose-deep in a textbook to the gossiping middle-aged ladies to myself, my sister and my mother having our weekly catch-up sesh. The comfy microfiber couches and the homey living room décor create a subtle nonchalance in the air while “I LOVE TEA” stenciled onto the plain eggshell-colored walls remind customers why they came.
More than 20 different types of tea from Japan, India, South Africa and beyond decorate the shelves, each in its most raw form (as leaves) and stored in sleek jars for your optical pleasure. This shouldn’t be confused with Hawaii ti though. At the café, hints of sweet tea fragrances escape every time someone opens a jar – hazelnut, earl grey and lavender among the scented marriage. Each tea’s labeled with a detailed description of its flavor and its purposes, educating those unfamiliar with teas. For instance, chamomile tea helps a person to sleep easier while shui xian promotes weight loss.
I have a thing for peach teas, so we tried the peach black tea. It had a nice hint of fruit that counterbalanced the bold undertones resulting in a sweet sip that didn’t overwhelm the taste buds. Instead of fancy hand-painted cups, we drank out of clear glass bubble-like cups that were more cute than conventional. The bubble cups were a bit small for me as one cup only equaled a few sips. Inside was also a little quieter than I expected. I felt like we were mostly whispering the entire time, afraid to disturb our nearby neighbors (the aforementioned studious students).
The baked goods – coffee cake, muffins and cookies, just to name a few – seemed like they came right out of Grandma’s oven with an added elegance when served to us on a glass dish. Also on the menu were sandwiches, wraps, soups and light breakfast items.
The Tea Farm Café has created a pivotal point in tea history – where classy gets made over, another art form modernized. They offer free wi-fi and validated parking, and best of all, the opportunity to travel the world one tea cup at a time.
TEA FARM CAFé
• Open Mon-Fri, Sun 9am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm • 2600 South King Street, #106 (Puck’s Alley), Honolulu, Hawai“i 96826 • 808-945-2679 • Validated parking; Near bus stop
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