About Imperial Tea
It is a well known fact that next to plain water, tea is the most popular drink on earth. We are honored to make many of the world’s finest, rarest, and most highly acclaimed teas available to you at our teahouse and 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.
San 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. 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 love and respect for authentic, hand-crafted Chinese teas (and their difficulty in obtaining them in the United States) led to the development of direct relationships with tea growers in China and Taiwan, and ultimately to the establishment of Imperial Tea Court.
While the original teahouse on Powell Street is now closed, tea lovers can visit Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero waterfront.
About Roy Fong
Roy Fong is the founder of San Francisco’s Imperial Tea Court, the first traditional Chinese teahouse in America. Born in Hong Kong, Mr. Fong was introduced to tea early in life, and has spent many years cultivating relationships with tea gardens in mainland China and Taiwan. Each year he visits select producers to supervise all aspects of production, from planting and cultivation to harvesting, processing and grading. He has also 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 overseeing 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.
In 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 service.
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 the Nation”. He, his wife Grace, and their two daughters make their home in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the author of The Great Teas of China.