Throwing a Grown-Up Tea Party

Throwing a Grown-Up Tea Party

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Your girlfriends can replace your stuffed animals, and a legitimate set of a table and chairs can stand in for the plastic Fisher-Price set you used to have. It doesn’t have to be a game of make believe anymore because tea time at Essencha Tea House is a very real experience.


Essencha will provide the cups and saucers, the table and chairs, and even the tea, as long as you provide the people and the fun (and maybe a little money). And just as it didn’t matter what time of the day it was when you were a little girl (heck, play time is any time, right?), Essencha doesn’t mind if you’d like your Afternoon Tea in the morning, evening orafternoon. Just make sure to make a reservation, Co-owner Tracy Monson says.


Afternoon Tea at Essencha could take one of two paths: an Asian tea ($12.95) or a European tea ($13.95). In addition to the dessert and tea of your choice, each Afternoon Tea setup offers two courses of cuisine from the respective continent.


Whether enjoying Afternoon Tea, eating a crepe, or just sipping on a cup of tea, allow yourself to steep in the warm atmosphere of the tea house. The design focuses on providing a calm, tranquil atmosphere. "Everything in the environment is designed to relax," Monson says. Essencha is a place to keep your life in check."It can help you reconnect with your friends and even yourself,"Monson says.


It can even be a place to reconnect with the world. Tea has been and continues to be an important beverage internationally — historically, culturally and economically. "Here [in the United States], coffee is king, but worldwide tea is No. 2 next to water in terms of consumption," Monson says.


Despite the prevalence of tea in the world, coffee remains the beverage of choice in the U.S. Ever since the fated Boston Tea Party, tea hasn’t been well-accepted by Americans as a society. A political statement of yesteryear shouldn’t prevent Americans from enjoying the benefits of tea, so Essencha offers tea tastings to help restore tea’s good name.


Each tea tasting features food, tea and a tea seminar, all for $15. In the past Essencha employees have discussed ways to make chilled teas, provided an overview of tea health, and taught a "Tea 101" class. They just try to make each tasting interesting and interactive, Monson says.


Essencha recently started serving breakfast from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, and they have extended their hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information about the tea house, visit the Web site or check out the place at 3212a Madison Road in Oakley.


Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Tracy Monson
Makeup: Trina Paul, Saks Fifth Avenue
Location: The McAlpin