It is a well known fact that next to plain water, the most popular
drink on earth is tea, and we are honored to make many of the world's
finest, rarest, and most highly acclaimed teas available to you at our
tea houses and here online. It is our privilege to invite you to
experience the tradition and artistry of one of life’s oldest and most
rewarding pleasures - known simply as the way of tea.
Francisco’s world-famous Imperial Tea Court is renowned as an exclusive
source for many of the most highly acclaimed and sought-after teas
produced today. Magnificently appointed by visiting Chinese craftsmen
and opened on the fourth of July, 1993 in Chinatown, Imperial Tea Court
represents the life-long commitment to the art and tradition of all
aspects of tea of co-founders, Grace and Roy Fong. Their mutual love and
respect for authentic, hand-crafted Chinese teas (and their difficulty
in obtaining them in the United States) led to the initiation of direct
relations with tea growers and producers in China and Taiwan, and
ultimately to the establishment of Imperial Tea Court.
There are now two Imperial Tea Court locations in the San Francsico Bay Area. One in the The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero in San Francisco and another in Gourmet Grotto on Shattuck Street in Berkeley.
About Roy Fong
Roy Fong is the founder and proprietor of San Francisco’s Imperial
Tea Court, the first traditional Chinese teahouse in America. A native
of Hong Kong, Mr. Fong was introduced to tea early in life, and has
spent many years developing close relations with tea growers and
producers in mainland China and Taiwan. Each year he visits select tea
gardens to supervise all aspects of production - from planting and
cultivation to harvesting, processing and grading. In addition, he has
built close ties with the historic pottery workshops of Yixing in
Jiangsu province and imports dozens of exceptional “purple sand” teapots
to the United States each year - many of which are his own special
designs and commissions.
During his term as Head of Research &
Development for the International Tea Masters Association, Mr. Fong
spent several years directing and personally over-seeing the
award-winning "Lotus Heart" Dragon Well tea program in the renowned West
Lake area of Hangzhou, China. In 1997 an international jury awarded his
“Imperial Green” tea first place at the Tea Masters annual conference.
1998 he was invited to participate in ceremonies commemorating the
restoration of the tea gardens at Jingshan in Zhejiang province - one of
the oldest and most significant tea sites in China, dating back to the
Tang dynasty (618-906). An account of the historic event was published
in the July/August 1998 issue of TEA magazine, for which Mr. Fong has
served as consultant and International Director, providing numerous
articles on a wide variety of topics including tea history, production
and related cultural matters.
Presently, Mr. Fong, an ordained
Daoist priest, is endeavoring to reestablish the ancient rite of tea
dating back to the time of China’s greatest tea master, Lu Yu, who lived
during the Tang dynasty and wrote his famous book the Cha Ching (“Tea
Scripture”) around the year 780. Roy is also currently working on his
own book which will be a comprehensive guide to the teas of China,
including sections concerning the history of tea in general, the origins
of the varieties we know today, the various methods of tea processing
and detailed discussions of the different methods of tea preparation and
Roy has been featured in numerous publications,
including: The New York Times, Forbes, Gourmet, Sunset Magazine, and has
appeared on the National Public Radio program “Talk of then Nation”.
He, his wife Grace, and their two daughters make their home in the San
Francisco Bay area. He is the author of, Great Teas of China.