My daughter, her friend and I went to this charming little tea shop this afternoon. The shop is located on Main Street in the old downtown area of Hayward. When you walk inside, you are in a garden setting with lots of plants, an indoor fountain and a beautiful mural on the wall. The place has plenty of natural light, the tables are spaced far enough apart that you can walk through freely and there is quiet background harp music with birdsong. Even though most of the tables were occupied, the owner Beneba greeted us at the door and found us a table upstairs that looked out the window. She brought us the menus, which had an astoundingly large selection of teas, and two full pages of different meals and desserts. My daughter ordered the red velvet cake, and her friend and I opted for high tea, which came with a scone (including clotted cream, lemon curd and jam), tea sandwiches, fruit, nuts, and several cakes. The food was great, the tea was wonderful, and the atmosphere was soothing. A quick visit turned into over two hours as we chatted with Beneba's visiting friend who owned a tea plantation in Sri Lanka. He explained about the different processes that goes into preparing the tea leaves. I had no idea that there is basically only the same type of tea plant all over the world, and it depends on the environment and harvesting that accounts for the myriad varieties of tea! When the crowd thinned out, Beneba joined us and we all had a lovely conversation. Now that I know the Golden Tea Garden is here, I can't wait to go back!