Very cozy and lovely place. Plenty of teas to choose from. Friendly staff. Wish there was a place like this in dallas.
I went to this store with my roommate. It’s a small building, easy to miss, and not very exciting looking on the outside. But inside is very welcoming and cozy! They have all their teas out for you to look at, and samples for smelling. There are a number of little tables and chairs, if you want to order something and hang out. I believe it has free wifi as well!
We ordered a chocolate croissant, an almond croissant, a cup of coconut assam, and a cup of tropical green. All were very good! I bought a good bit of tea, and a matcha set before I left. There was one girl at the register and helping customers. She was extremely friendly and helpful, offering personal favorites and suggestions when asked.
All the tea that I’ve tried from them has tasted very good. They also had a good bit of teaware and gift sets for sell, all seemed very reasonably priced.
We ended up staying so long, they had to ask us to leave because they were closing! It was a very fun and enjoyable experience, and I definitely plan on returning. I believe they are planning on opening other stores soon, hopefully one a bit closer to us up here in Georgetown!
I like Zhi Tea and I want to love everything about it. It’s in an odd part of town for a tea shop; across from the train tracks, next door to a small convenience store and further down there are some apartments. It’s not a classy part of town at all, but it’s my part of town and I’m happy to see a tea room there. The shop is dark and cool like a cave during the summer, which is a nice break from the Texas heat, and dry and cozy during the winter.
Every time I have gone in I have been greeted by and waited on (but not at all pestered by) lovely counter staff. They have all been friendly, offered me a free cup of anything I’d like to try, educated me on the subject of tea and left me alone when I wanted to browse while still being available to answer any questions I might have. Perfect!
There are little sample sized tins of each tea in front of each tea so you can see and smell them. I really like being able to check out the teas by myself without a sales person hovering over me, but last time I was in there the samples smelled a bit weak and may have been due for a refreshing.
Teas are sold in a few sizes. Smallest are the sample bags so you can go on a get to know you date with their tea, next step up is a tin full if you want more commitment, THEN they have large bags for sale for when you decide you are deeply in love with a tea and want to get hitched.
The teas they make are all organic. They don’t discontinue teas unless they can’t source the ingredients anymore because they don’t want to disappoint any customers who love that tea (something I wish other companies would consider). They have little magnets that give the steeping time for different teas on it which is a great reference to have on your fridge. The tins they use are tall and oval which makes room for more teas in your cupboard. So many reasons to love them!
The location, the building, setup and the staff are all great. What I’m not crazy about is the tea. I want to LOVE the tea and I don’t. I want to support local businesses too. I have found a couple of teas I like, but most of it I’m just not into. I’m an added flavor kind of tea fan. I want my tea to remind me of cookies and cakes with coconut and almond slices with a hint of chocolate drizzled on top. I want dancing ponies and flying monkeys shooting off fireworks! I don’t want to taste the slight nuances of tea from one hill in China from the next. I think I would be head over heels for Zhi if I liked more traditional tea or subtle flavors, but that is not my taste.
So in summary, great place, awesome staff, wonderful ethics, variety in amounts of tea to purchase, but the tea itself doesn’t thrill me.
I visited Zhi Tea 12-11-11 @ 3:16pm
Address: 4607 Bolm Rd., Austin, TX 78702
It was a very sharp turn to get to the right street, I passed it once and ended up having to circle back to it. There was limited parking, but the place was not very full. By the end of my visit there were 4 other patrons, 3 of which stayed with for here drinks.
One woman, the blender, was taking care of the front of the store. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with telling me about the teas and helping me select one to have.
The walls were covered with shelves of tea, and plenty of sampler sizes.
There were 4 tables, and 1 couch corner.
Average experience for a tea shop, but cozy and nice. I will gladly go back to visit next time I am in Austin.
(x-posted from Yelp:)
My day did not start off well. I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:30 (for a simple update of my birth control prescription), and they said it’d take an hour – I was there for TWO HOURS, and only fifteen of that was spent talking to someone. Then I went to Whole Foods to get lunch, and because I was running late, I hit it in the middle of the lunch rush – everything was a total clusterf-ck and the lines were out-of-this-world wacky, so I left, heading to Zhi Tea. By this time I was kind of grouchy, since I was hungry and this was supposed to be my day off.
An hour and a half later, I felt like I had just been to a spa. Oh MY. Where do I even start with how awesome of an experience this was? I sampled one of their teas, asked a LOT of questions (I’m fairly new to tea), got a mug of cacao chai (delicious, btw) & a chocolate croissant (also delicious, but does that need stating?) and relaxed for a while, then sampled another tea, chatted about all the different kinds, and left with three of the teaser packs. Both of the associates I talked to were delightful – friendly, informative, not pushy, oh so helpful.
I came home, all blissed out despite crappy road construction for most of the east-side length of 7th street, and immediately raved to my roommate about it for ten minutes, then made her smell all of the teas I bought. Their tea isn’t cheap, but it’s not the most expensive ever, either, it tastes great, it’s organic and fair trade, and all of the pastries & such at the counter are organic AND locally made. This place is amazing. Just go there.
I hope they liked me, because they’ll be seeing me on a regular basis from now on!
PS: that original review was written over an hour ago and I’m still all blissed out. I wonder if they spike their tea? ;)