The Huntington Library is known for its iconic Japanese tea room, but there’s actually no tea served in that tea room–it’s really just for show. However, there are two other ways in which you can enjoy tea at this lovely living museum.
First of all, there’s the Rose Garden Tea Room and Cafe where you can have a Sunday brunch buffet of tea sandwiches, scones, and teas. Their selection of teas here are not that great–there’s only like three. But the buffet items are pretty delicious, and the endless basket of little scones (including bacon flavored) is magical, and they let you take a bag home afterwards. It’s about $30 per person, so not cheap.
Second, there’s the fairly brand new Chinese Garden called the Garden of Flowering Fragrance. There’s a sort of tea and dim sum house on the pond there, so you can enjoy the scenery with some tea and snacks, but neither the tea nor the snacks are that good, so just be forewarned. It’s really for the ambiance than the taste.
Entrance to this botanical garden and museum is $20, so be sure to add that to whatever tea activities you plan to do inside. Also keep in mind that the Huntington Library was found and funded in part by the money made off of the railroads by the Central Pacific Railroad Big Four–meaning off the breaking backs of exploited Chinese American laborers.
Last, Part 6: Chado Tea Room.