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Food

Photos: Arts District Gets Sleek New Tea Room With Cocktails

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The Arts District has a new, high-tech tea room with huge list of teas, tea cocktails, delicious pastries and a beautiful outdoor patio.

If you're a fan of tea—and especially if you like discovering new ones—check out the American Tea Room. While their Beverly Hills spot is undergoing renovations, they just opened a new Arts District location in a relaxing space with over 200 teas to choose from, plus a list of refreshing tea cocktails and concoctions.

On a relatively quiet street in the Arts District near Stumptown Coffee and Bestia, we found the American Tea Room very relaxing when we visited one sunny morning last week. It's a big warehouse space, so it's open and airy, and the garden patio has a concrete, yet comfy feel.

There are so many teas to choose from that you might want to ask an employee which they prefer. After revealing that I'm typically a morning coffee drinker, owner David Barenholtz suggested I try a matcha green tea, of which they have organic matchas, ceremonial matchas and a rare (and pricey) Hekisui master matcha. They whisk the powder by hand and serve it in a glass bowl on a tray. Barenholtz explained that the green tea has a fair amount of caffeine, so it's a good way to kick off the day, but it's not that jittery rush that you can sometimes get from too much coffee. If you can't give up your morning coffee, they do serve The Verve coffee and espresso—which they keep in the back so the strong aroma doesn't over power that of the teas.

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If you find yourself curious, you can go over to the Tea Zone. Here, you can select any vial of tea and scan it, and the screen will tell you all about it, including composition and price. You can also use the touch screen to browse categories of tea.

If a pot or hot cup isn't your thing, they also serve two different iced teas daily, infused with fruit. They also make tea 'cocktails': the Arabian 'White Coffee' Tea is made with pure white tea, orange blossom syrup, rose water and mint; the Chinese Pu Er Hot Chocolate is made with earthy, fermented Pu Er tea, cinnamon, hot chili, hot chocolate and steamed milk; the Himalayan Butter Tea is made with Nepalese Black, Oolong and Pu Er teas, butter, salt, milk and honey. These drinks cost between $4 and $8. You can also score a tea-infused cocktail as this new location has a full liquor license.

If you're feeling peckish, they serve pastries and treats from Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections. These include fruit galettes and muffins, a salted caramel croissant, scones and a vegan banana chocolate bread with peanut crumbles. We also tried a matcha truffle, almond rice cookies and a tea-infused pudding. In October, Gordon will begin offering more traditional lunch items such as salads and sandwiches, which guests may choose to have separately or as part of a tea service.

There are several seating options inside if it's warm out, but the outdoor patio is pretty, with low-backed chairs and small tables with fire pits in the middle in case it gets chilly. There's a hydroponic green wall and plenty of potted plants, and it tends to stay relatively shady. There's an outlet at every table and working wifi, so it's also a great place to sit and work on something.

In addition to coming to enjoy a cup onsite, customers can also purchase tea and tea accessories to take home.

American Tea Room is located at 909 S Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District, 213-239-9100. Open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plans for expanded hours in the future.