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A tea house or tea room is an establishment which primarily serves tea and other light refreshments. Although its function varies widely depending on the culture, tea houses often serve as centers of social interaction. Some cultures have a variety of distinct tea-centered houses or parlors that all qualify under the English language term "tea house" or "tea room."
In China, a tea house (茶館, cháguăn or 茶屋, cháwū) is traditionally similar to the American cafe, albeit centered around tea rather than coffee. People gather at tea houses to chat, socialize, and enjoy tea, and young people often meet at tea houses for dates. The Guangdong (Cantonese) style tea house is particularly famous outside of China. These tea houses, called chálou (茶樓) serve dim sum (點心), and these small plates of food are enjoyed alongside tea.
In Japanese tradition a tea house can refer to a structure designed for holding Japanese tea ceremonies. This structure and specifically the room in it where the tea ceremony takes place is called chashitsu (茶室, literally "tea room"). The architectural space called chashitsu was created for aesthetic and intellectual fulfillment.
In Japan during the Edo period, the term "tea house" could also refer to a place of entertainment with geisha or as a place where couples seeking privacy could go. In this case the establishment was referred to as an ochaya (お茶屋), which literally meant "tea house". However, these establishments did not mainly serve tea, except incidentally, and were instead dedicated to geisha entertainment or to providing discreet rooms for visitors. This usage, however, is now out of date. Contemporary Japanese go to modern tearooms called kissaten on main streets to drink black or green tea as well as coffee.
In Central Asia the term tea house could refer to Shayhana in Kazakh, Chaykhana in Kyrgyz and Choyxona in Uzbek, which literally means a tea room. In Tajikistan. The largest tea houses are Orient Tea house or Chinese Tea house, Orom Tea house in (Isfara) town. On the 15th anniversary of Independence in Tajikistan, the people of Isfara town presented Isfara Tea house to Kulyab city for its 2700th anniversary on September 2006. Tea houses are present in other parts of Central Asia, notably in Iran and also Turkey. Such tea houses may be referred to, in Persian, as Chay-Khaneh, or in Turkish, çayhane - literally, the "house of tea." These tea houses usually serve several beverages in addition to tea.
In Arabic-speaking countries such as Egypt, establishments that serve tea, coffee and tisanes like karkade are referred to as ahwa or maqha (Arabic: مقهى) and are more commonly translated into English as coffeehouse.
Tea drinking is a pastime closely associated with the English. Tea first arrived in England during Cromwell's protectorate and soon became the national drink, with tea drinking a national pastime for the English. As early as 1784, Rochefoucauld noted that "[t]hroughout the whole of England the drinking of tea is general". Nevertheless, Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with the invention of afternoon tea. By 1840, it had spread to other parts of English society with the female manager of London's Aerated Bread Company attributed with innovating the first commercial public tearoom.
Thomas Twining opened the first known tea room in 1706, which still remains at 216 Strand, London. In 1787, the company created its logo, still in use today, which is thought to be the world's oldest commercial logo that has been in continuous use since its inception. Under Associated British Foods since 1964, Stephen Twining now represents the company's tenth generation. In 2006, Twinings celebrated its 300th anniversary with a special tea and associated tea caddies. Twining's is a Royal Warrant holder (appointed by HM The Queen).
In the U.K. today, a tea room is a small room or restaurant where beverages and light meals are served, often catering chiefly to women and having a sedate or subdued atmosphere. A customer might expect to receive cream tea or Devonshire tea, often served from a china set, and a scone with jam and clotted cream – alternatively a High tea may be served. In Scotland teas are usually served with a variety of scones, pancakes, (Scottish) crumpets and other cakes. In a related usage, a tea room may be a room set aside in a workplace for workers to relax and (specifically) take refreshment during work-breaks. Traditionally a staff member serving food and beverages in such a tea room would have been called a tea lady.
In France, a tea room is called Salon de thé, and pastries and cakes are also served. It seems having a separate tea house was a culture in many countries in Europe. In Germany, one Teehaus was particularly famous during the Third Reich era where the German Dictator Adolf Hitler used to have his daily walk and tea on Mooslahnerkopf hill near his residence Berghof, in the Bavarian Alps. Hitler's tea house was a cylindrical structure built in the woods.
In Eastern Europe, countries like Latvia are located at the crossroads of trade routes between Western and Eastern Europe, and tea came both from the East and West. One example of mixed tea is a new type of tea room - Club tea culture. For example - a tea club Goija.
 Relationship to 19th century temperance movement
The popularity of the tea room rose as an alternative to the pub in the UK and US during the temperance movement in the 1830s. The form developed in the late 19th century, as Catherine Cranston opened the first of what became a chain of Miss Cranston's Tea Rooms in Glasgow, Scotland, and similar establishments became popular throughout Scotland. In the 1880s, fine hotels in both the United States and England began to offer tea service in tea rooms and tea courts, and by 1910 they had begun to host afternoon tea dances as dance crazes swept both the U.S. and the UK. Tea rooms of all kinds were widespread in Britain by the 1950s, but in the following decades cafés became more fashionable, and tea rooms became less common.
 See also
- Cha can ting
- Coffee house
- Nakamal - a similar house where kava is drunk
- Tea ceremony
- Tea culture
- Tea garden
- Teahouse scam
- The Teahouse of the August Moon
- Tearoom (U.K. and U.S.)
- Yum cha
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tea houses|
- Name (required) (2007-10-31). "Ahwa's in Egypt". Hummusisyummus.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Pamela Robin Brandt (2002-10-17). "Miaminewtimes.com". Miaminewtimes.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- The Ritz London Book of Afternoon Tea. Helen Simpson, Ebury Press, 2006
- Standage, T. (2005). A history of the world in six glasses. New York: Walker. P. 202.
- "Brownshotel.com". Brownshotel.com. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Tea house culture in Jioufen Taiwan Culture Portal:Hung's Teahouse is a Sky Castle
- British tea house history page - Tea Pages by Katrina Ávila Munichiello