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Please enjoy a few articles about Imperial Tea Court and founders, Roy and Grace Fong

Roy Fong and the quest for a California tea farm

By Carolyn JungDecember 8, 2016 Updated: December 8, 2016 12:00pm
Embarcadero, Financial District

Roy Fong and the quest for a California tea farm

The founder of Imperial Tea Court, the venerated Chinese teahouse in San Francisco's Ferry Building and Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, Fong is on a remarkable journey to create what he hopes will one day be the highest-production tea farm in the United States.

4th Annual SF International Tea Festival Coming Sunday

Embarcadero, Financial District

Try hundreds of teas and learn directly from producers at the festival, which runs 10am–5pm Sunday at the Ferry Building.

Read the full story…

"Great Teas Of China" by Roy Fong at the S.F. Commonwealth Club
March 11, 2013

View page and listen to the entire one-hour recording


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

September 2005

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 the store).

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.