So my parents and I go at least once a year to White Pines State Park, rent one of their cabins and stay for a few days. Last year when we went I didn’t find any tea places in the surrounding areas, but this year this cafe came up on my search. It was worth a shot so my Mom and I went there one day for lunch. It’s in a building that also has yoga classes, meditation classes, some martial arts stuff and other wellness classes which I don’t remember. The the cafe part only serves food until 2PM but tea bar itself is open until 5PM. Breakfast is 7AM – 11AM and lunch is 11AM – 2PM.
For the tea bar, which is separately run but all goes on the same bill if you order food, you can get hot tea by the cup or the pot along with iced tea, iced coffee and some other stuff that I can’t remember. They have a menu with all of the teas currently available and up on the counter there’s a few of the loose leaf teas (not what they measure your tea out of) in canisters so you can smell them. You can also buy tea by the ounce if you like, which was nice since my Mom and I couldn’t decide which of two teas to drink so we ended up buying an ounce of one and a brewed pot of the other. They don’t blend their own teas however, but order them from other companies.
Very peaceful, relaxing atmosphere with nice music in the background (live the first time by a lady on a piano, stereo the second time) and locally made artwork (for sale) hung on the walls. I really liked how all of the chairs were mismatched (though all of them were covered the same). It gave a cozy feel to the place.
The first time eating there my Mom and I got a pot of peach blossom white tea to have with our food (more on the food later). It was served in a tetsubin and we got little glass cups on cast iron saucers to drink from. No timer or anything to tell when it was ‘done’, so I let it sit until we both thought the taste was good. I wasn’t given anything to actually put the strainer on so I used the saucer from my cup. I guess they expected me to leave the strainer in the pot, but I didn’t want the tea to get bitter by just sitting in the pot. The strainer was packed full of leaves, almost to the point of overflowing out of the strainer, which was a surprise. We were allowed to sit and sip tea and make use of their free wi-fi (since the cabin doesn’t have any) as long as we wanted. A few times while we were sitting there we were asked if we wanted a hot water refill (which was free) or fresh leaves (which I’m guessing would not be free) on the teapot, but since we were already floating on tea, we didn’t take them up on either.
The second time we went there (because the food was fantastic) I got a pot of their Midnight Peony flowering black tea which was served in a glass pot and my Dad got a pot of their China Green, which was served in another tetsubin. The Midnight Peony looked like some strange sea anemone floating there. Lol! I got a second hot water refill on my pot, though my Dad didn’t.
Now the food because I have to rave about the food. The food is fantastic. So good in fact that we stopped there on the way home to have lunch again. Both times I went there I got the turkey basil pesto panini which was delicious. I got a full sandwich, but you can also get just a half sandwich and pair it with a cup of soup too. It comes with a pickle and the chef’s salad of the day (First time was Israeli Couscous w/ lemon vinaigrette, the second was regular couscous with regular oil vinaigrette). My Mom got a half turkey cranberry panini and a cup of summer corn and white bean soup the first time. The sandwich was something I didn’t think would work, but the bite I tried was very good. The soup was also delicious. The second time both she and my Dad got their breakfast panini of the day (which they serve all day as long as it lasts) which was a half bacon, cheddar, apple panini with some fruit served on the side. Another combo I didn’t think would work, but did apparently (though I didn’t try it myself). I missed out on the soup the second day since they weren’t listed on the board yet (Chicken Masala or Mushroom Potato), but my Mom got a bowl of the Mushroom Potato to go and apparently it’s amazing too.
Overall, I love this place and really hope that it’s still there when we visit next year. The staff was amazing, the food was excellent and the atmosphere was great too. I wish I either lived closer since I’d eat there all the time (and probly try to get a job there) or that there was such a place closer to me.
Highly recommend stopping by if you’re driving through the area.