The First and Oldest

The L.T. Sue Co. Tea Room & Emporium is "The First and Oldest" tea company, located at number 1 China Alley in Hanford, California's China Alley Historic District.

In 2011, China Alley was listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of “America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places." Proprietors Arianne Wing and Steve Banister were inspired by the designation, and in March 2012 opened the L.T. Sue Tea Room and Emporium as a means to help revitalize China Alley. They adopted their name from Dr. L.T. Sue, the first of many herbalists located in China Alley. Twenty percent of their profits go towards helping preserve and revitalize Hanford’s historic China Alley.

classic tea room

A Sense of History

“As you get older, you realize the stuff that you inherited from your parents, and I think we inherited a sense of history.”

— Steve Banister, Co-founder


Steve and Arianne were born and raised in Hanford and have a tremendous fondness for what historic downtown has to offer. Arianne's origins come from a multigenerational family restaurant that survived for 123 years in China Alley and Steve's roots were cultivated from his father's 50 plus years in downtown retail.