The name Bird Pick Tea & Herb comes from a legend told by the grandfather of one of the shop’s founders: long ago, tea cultivators would follow birds known to choose the best leaves for themselves. Although the staff doesn’t actually employ birds to select each leaf, the spirit of the legend lives on in Bird Pick’s careful selection of teas, which come from misty estates in the mountains of China. Seasonal varieties of black, white, and green teas release earthy aromas from bins of loose leaves and tea bags, and oolong teas display the smoky colors left by a harvesting process that involves crushing and fermenting the buds. An inventory of elegant accessories includes receptacles for storing tea, glass infusers for brewing, bowls for whisking matcha tea, and air horns for letting guests know a tea party is over. Bird Pick even sells straw-hued honeys from New Zealand to accent complex brews served in pots decorated with sprays of blue flowers and Chinese characters.
At The Novel Cafe Pasadena, chefs specialize in quintessential American comfort food with a gourmet twist. The menu includes tuna nicoise salads, eggplant parmesan sandwiches, and other lighter dishes. You’ll also find heartier fare, including barbecue back ribs and clams with linguine, as well as dishes rife with locally grown produce. The on-site coffee shop stocks more than 15 varieties of organic teas, in addition to organic coffee beans and espresso. The baristas also serve freshly squeezed juices and extra-squeeze hugs. The café also hosts regular performances from local singer-songwriters and jazz musicians, which you can enjoy while sipping on a glass of wine.
This cafe not only serves 10 rotating flavors of frozen yogurt, but also pours cups of Illy coffee and Mighty Leaf tea. This makes the shop a destination for both chilly autumn days or hot summer nights when clients take to the the patio. Flavors change daily, but come in varieties such as low-fat, non-fat, non-dairy and no-sugar added. These can be blended into more complex treats with the shop's over 60 toppings options, including fresh fruit, candy, nuts, and chunks of brownies.
Tea Barrel takes its name seriously. Along with a menu loaded with dozens of tea drinks—from fresh green and black teas to lattes and milk teas—the cafe seats guests at tables made of actual tea barrels. Guests can settle in on the benches at their quaint table for laid-back sipping on their preferred drink, whether it's kumquat green tea, strawberry milk tea, or refreshing watermelon or honey plum juice. Slushies and smoothies can also be created in a variety of fruity and other flavors, including mango strawberry, vanilla coffee, or thai tea.
Assisting everything from relaxation to energy boosts, Muse Tea House's tea gurus blend black, green, and oolong leaves with flavors that range from blueberry and passionfruit to lavender and rose. Chewy boba and aloe pearls nestle at the bottom of almond and taro milk teas, and royal sparkling sodas—started with San Pellegrino mineral water—tickle tongues with bubbly flavors of peach and pomegranate. For something more filling, patrons can opt for a fruity, syrup-free yogurt drink made with organic ingredients from France and Japan or toss back items from the kitchen, such as macarons, squid balls, and sliced barbecue pork on dry noodles.
Muse Tea House cultivates an intimate, hushed atmosphere with a row of low-set tables and cozy booths shaded by patterned gossamer curtains. Thick, burgundy drapes frame each sun-drenched front window, which cast natural light on a smooth, stone floor so that customers can draw perfect hopscotch courses in chalk.