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Downtown Manteca is their cup of tea
Heidi and Miriam Silva of The Silver Teapot look over thank you notes and a scrapbook of guests that have passed through the doors over the course of the last two years. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin
You don’t have to take a trip across the pond to get an authentic cup of British tea.

For the last two years, The Silver Teapot – located on Maple Avenue right in the heart of downtown – has weathered the ups and downs of other tea-related businesses and has managed to draw customers from as far away as the Bay Area to enjoy everything from parties to tea-sets.

And things only look up for the unique business that has become engrained in the downtown Manteca business community.

“Seeing the people leave happy is what really makes me enjoy the job,” said owner Mariom Silva – who hails from roughly 40 miles past Manchester in England. “And seeing the smiles on the faces of the children when they enjoy themselves is another thing that makes me enjoy being here.”

But it’s not just cups of authentic tea – loose leaf tea that requires a strainer to fill a cup – but also the fixings that go along with the traditional sit-down session that help draw people from even out of state.

Once the family got the go-ahead from the Manteca Planning Commission, it became a family affair to transform the previous tenant into one of downtown Manteca’s nicest businesses.

“We had me and my mother, as well as my father, my two brothers, and my niece to help transform the building,” said Heidi Silva – who helps run the business with her mom. “There was already a business here, so we were able to use some of the existing pieces during our renovation.”

And there is no age limit to those who can enjoy a two-hour session of afternoon tea – ranging in age from two-years-old to those 90 and older. Almost a dozen groups including the Red Hat Society have made stops in for afternoon sessions, and even youngsters have had parties there where they can enjoy a real tea party.

Just recently the business added light lunch to the menu to compliment the wildly popular loose leaf tea – that includes more than 35 flavors – that has been a customer favorite ever since they opened the doors.

Naturally, those who become patrons of the business take advantage of the one thing that everybody thinks of when it comes to a tea party – dressing up.

An entire assortment of boas line one wall, while traditional clothing is available on the other – adding a bit more flavor to the experience.

“We want people to come in and have a great time, and dressing up seems to do that,” Miriam Silva said. “Hopefully more people will get to experience that.”

The Silver Teapot is located at 118 N. Maple Drive. The tea room hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday by appointment. The gift shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 824-8700.

To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3544.