Excerpt from South China Morning Post Written by Wanda Hennig Published: SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2007 For the past 13 years, Hong Kong born Roy Fong has been brewing up a quiet storm – literally in a teacup. Driven by a thirst to share China’s premium teas and the culture and traditions they represent with people in his adoptive country, Mr. Fong got on a wave that has grown into what one might call a US tea-drinking tsunami. Ten years ago there were 200 tea shops across the US. Mr Fong’s Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco’s Chinatown, then three years old, was one of them. Now, according to the Tea Association of the United States, there are 2,200 speciality tea rooms and retail shops in big cities and small towns across America.
Excerpt from Sunset Magazine Imperial Tea Court San Francisco Bay Area The
first traditional Chinese teahouse in the United States, this San
Francisco classic was founded by Roy Fong, a Taoist
priest and Hong Kong native who
sources only the best Chinese teas. Although the original Chinatown
location closed, the popularity
of the current locations signals
that teas have reached connoisseurs outside of the Asian community. $$; imperialtea.com, 415/544-9830 (San Francisco) or 510/540-8888 (Berkeley).
Excerpt from Fresh Cup Magazine - April 2008
San Francisco: Gateway to Tea
Story and photography by Bruce Richardson
Pilgrim after pilgrim made their way down the steep slopes of Powell
Street to sit in an authentic red and black lacquered Chinese made tea
house and drink tea with Roy while being serenaded by finches perched in
a half dozen cages hanging from the ceiling. The marble floor, wooden
walls, paneled ceiling, handmade furnishings, and the owner were all
imported from China.
Excerpt from Tea Trends, Online Tea Industry Website
Roy Fong, Imperial Tea Court
Your first teahouse has recently celebrated its twelfth anniversary.
Has the popularity of tea in this country matched your original
expectation, or have there been surprised along the way?
The growth of tea and our business has certainly exceeded my expectation
since I didn't really know what to expect 12 years ago. It has been a
wonderful twelve years (actually thirteen since it took one year to open
You now have a second location in the Ferry Building. What changes in
format have you made based on your experience with the first?
We try to offer a pure tea experience in our original store and after 12
years, we are somewhat successful. The second location offers more
traditional food items to be served along with tea to ease the initial
"shock" for new comers to tea since food are easier to understand, and
to Chinese, food and tea are both art forms to be presented. We are in
the process of opening a third location in Berkeley, CA, which will
explore even further the idea of food and tea presentations.