Shab Row Tea Emporium in Frederick, Maryland
5/5
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Debbie rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I walked in her today when I was in town during First Saturday. This shop is absolutely lovely, and a very nice contrast to Voila, the other tea shop in downtown Frederick. The store has three rooms. The tea is in the back room, and upstairs there is a tiny sitting area to sip and enjoy tea and snacks.

I was extremely impressed at the presentation – there is a wall of tea in canisters. There is a rack of loose tea in test tubes so you can smell sample the tea. The offerings were also extremely impressive. I walked away with three different teas that smelled amazing and hope taste amazing too. There was a nice selection of traditional teas, and an equally nice selection of blends. I bought a caramel apple that smelled more strongly of caramel than any other caramel tea I’ve ever smelled before. They have a selection of organic, fair trade, and kosher teas too.

The staff are friendly and helpful. And they put my pouches of tea into the cutest drawstring cloth bag printed with the shop’s name and logo.

Matcha Time Cafe in Ellicott City, MD
5/5
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Debbie rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I went here today with some friends. It is located right off the main parking lot in Ellicott City. The cafe itself is very small – only two rooms – with very little seating. There are four small tables that can be pushed together to make two larger tables.

The owner and her daughter were in that day and were extremely nice. The food was excellent, as was the tea. I got one of the specials of the day, the inarizushi combination – 3 inari, 4 cucumber rolls, a side, and an ice cream. I also ordered some matcha, which came with a little sweet pastry as a side. We got a pot of hojicha to share.

There was a nice selection of teas that included traditional Japanese tea, herbals, and some non-Japanese tea (I remember seeing Assam on the menu).

There is a cute shop off of the second room of the cafe that is full of neat little Japanese gifts and treats, all very reasonably priced.

I’ll definitely be back. Highly recommended.

Tea On The Tiber in Ellicott City, Maryland
4/5
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Debbie rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

I attended a bridal shower here awhile back. This place is very cozy (which sounds better than cramped and small). They have servings by reservation only. You are seated and then given a choice of tea. Each person receives their own small pot. I remember there was less straight teas and more fruity/flowery blends than I would have liked. The food was traditional afternoon tea fare. Light sandwiches, then small pastries. The food was very good.

Teavana (Wheaton Mall) in Wheaton, MD
3/5
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Debbie rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

This place is brand new, and thus the workers are in turn very enthusiastic, and not very knowledgeable. As with all Teavanas, they push the blends on you, but I think I figured out how to avoid their over-the-top sales pitch: walk in and immediately ask if they carried a few specialty teas by name. Once I established my cred, I was able to purchase the tea I wanted and the sales clerk even prompted herself to stop aspects of the sales pitch.

My only complaint was I made it clear that I wanted straight teas. She pulled down three tins of straight tea, and then a fourth tin that she said was a straight oolong — peppered with bits of fruit and flowers.

Still, an overall positive experience. I got the tea I wanted at the weight I wanted it, and only that. The tea has been decent quality as well.

The Perennial Tea Room in Seattle, Washington
4/5
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Debbie rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

I stumbled across this shop while visiting Seattle for work. It’s a very cute little store that is basically divided into two sections: 1) a tea-themed gift shop with samplers, teaware, books, etc; and 2) loose tea. I was quite pleased to find some locally-produced tea to bring back to the office, and got some nicer loose tea for myself.

Capital Teas (Bethesda Wildwood) in Bethesda, Maryland
4/5
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Debbie rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

A very nice tea shop, with a wide range of teas. The clerk was extremely friendly and helpful, and inclined to be chatty if you wanted to be chatty. Most importantly, he was not pushy and didn’t try to sell me anything I wasn’t already buying. The prices are on the high side, but the quality of what I tried was also high so you get what you pay for.

Debbie rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

I found this shop disappointing. It’s very small and on First Saturdays, gets cramped very quickly. They seem to specialize in fruity or flowery blends and tisanes – which I don’t really drink – because that seems to be what is on sample every time I go in. There is a nice selection of traditional teas, too, but I’m not sure on the quality. I bought lapsang souchong from them once and was very disappointed in the weak flavor.

Adding some more notes:
It’s nice that you get a free tin with your tea purchase. However, I have not been very impressed with the tea that has been inside the tin. I bought two rooibos blends last time I was in and neither tasted very strongly. Their “Frosty Pumpkin” blend had no pumpkin and instead bits of honeydew. My memory of how cramped and cluttered the store was was doubly true – they must have just gotten a huge shipment of tea because the space behind the counter was filled to chest-level with boxes and large tins. And after researching some of the tea I bought, I have come to the conclusion they get at least some of their tea through an online distributor that I have never been very impressed with, quality-wise. I’m going to pass from now on.

Teavana (in Montgomery Mall) in Bethesda, Maryland
3/5
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Debbie rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

Good selection of decent quality tea, but overpriced for what you’re getting. The staff are friendly – but beware they are trained to upsell you in subtle ways. If you ask for 4 oz. of tea, they will always fill the bag a bit more than 4 oz, and ask if that’s okay, expecting you to say, “Yes.” Which adds up if you’re buying that $25 tea.

Ten Ren's Tea Time in College Park, Maryland
4/5
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Debbie rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

This is in a college town, so be aware that the crowd that comes in are generally there for the bubble tea. The atmosphere is very laid back, and there’s a nice selection of bagged and loose tea – not as much as you’d find in another tea shop, but enough to make it worth the trip. The prices are pretty good, too, and much lower than other tea shops in the DC area.

The food is mediocre, but also cheap. I heard their bao are amazing but I’ve never been in when the bao chef was in so I can’t speak to that personally.

Profile

Bio

I’m a tea-aholic. I’ve always loved tea. It is soothing and warm and comforting. I always had it when we went out to eat as a child so my first association is with rich and delicious food.

As an adult, I’m learning to enjoy tea on its own merits, and bask in its subtleties and varieties. The ritual of making a cup of tea is instantly relaxing.

I prefer oolong and white teas, followed by greens, and then blacks. For the most part I do not like flavored or blended teas, and I never add sugar or cream to tea from the actual tea plant.

I’m slowly learning to appreciate rooibos blends, which I drink for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Location

Silver Spring, MD

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