For their daily caffeine, local workers rely on the usual Starbucks and Peet’s shoved into every convenient small storefront. If it’s tea you favor, try the Imperial Tea Court (1 Ferry Plaza, #27, 415/544-9830, www.imperialtea.com , Tues.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.) at the Ferry Building .
This intensely Chinese tea shop sells black teas in bulk, beautiful Asian tea ware, and of course serves hot tea at its six Chinese rosewood tables.
If you want to get into the tea experience, consider signing up for a class with owner Ray Fong, who is a published author and tea consultant. You’ll learn about the traditions of tea, from plant to cup, including the Chinese ceremonial modes of serving.