I keep coming back to Zen Tara Tea, even though it’s not close to where I live or work.
Zen Tara Tea is personable. You get to know the people that work there, and they care about you. They remember visitors and their tea/pastry preferences. They truly care about their customers, and take the time to talk to them and get to know them. They are always interacting with the community, whether in person, twitter, facebook, or through newsletters.
All of their tea is organic and they keep on the cutting edge by going to tea expos and visiting countries around the world.
Compared to other tea shops (Teavana, Teaism), this store is by and far the best. The quality of their ingredients is such that you don’t need sugar or milk—the tea stands on it’s own. The prices aren’t that expensive so you go home weeping with a small satchel of tea either. I love their tea tumblers with the bulit in strainer too, I have two and bring one to work with me everyday on my long metro ride from Arlington to Rockville. The tea is still hot when I arrive at work.
The best thing about this place (besides the free wi-fi, and yummy snacks) is their tea tasting events. For around $10, you get an hour or hour-and-a-half long themed adventure where you taste five or six teas and then you get to take samples home. I’ve taken part in the April Fool’s Tasting Challenge, South East Asian Tea tasting, Tea as Desserts, Iced Tea Contest, and the Botanical Tea Blending/Tasting Event. I’ve been here with tea snobs and tea noobs alike, and everyone has enjoyed every event and everything in the store.
They also have sushi, sandwiches, some Chinese dim-sum dishes, and bubble tea. I love their Thai iced coffee and Thai iced tea the best, with tapioca bubbles of course!