Had tea with a friend at a place that was a mere hop-skip-jump from where I lived. I’d known about it for over a year, but never found a reason to explore it. It’s primarily an antique shop, but their side project is French-style tea time; meaning an emphasis on informal gatherings, quiches, desserts, and tea. Minus the pomp and circumstance. I was quite impressed with the politeness of the owner. Their menu was pretty standard for a teashop. The soup was _*wonderful*-, and the decaf vanilla Ceylon I had was quite quality. I will gladly return…if only for the opportunity to buy a blue marble teapot.
Perhaps I’m a bit biased because this is so near to where I live, but it’s absolutely excellent having a tea shop – with such an expansive selection – within eyeshot. The place is lined with teas. Prices vary according to rarity, but it’s not impossible to find something to fit your palate. And, of course, they always have three teas at the ready for people to sample.
I owe a lot to this place and its sister location at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. If it weren’t for Tao, I wouldn’t have graduated from teabags. Their Silver Needle white tea made me a convert. The appearance of their main shop is traditionally rustic but with a modern flare, and all of their teas are served in the fashion of the region they stem. (You actually get a gourd and bombilla when you order yerba mate.) Can’t say enough good things about it.
Easily accessible in the Pearl District, snuggled next to downtown Portland, this tea shop is a very chimeric beast. Half of it is an urban tea retailer with places to rest and recharge, the other…a drinkery – with tea-infused alcoholic beverages. I only partook of their more “naughty” wares once – a matcha-infused whiskey. (It was about three shots of whiskey with a splash of green tea.)
That said, they have one of the best selections of rare teas I’ve come across at a tea shop. My favorite being a Malawi-grown white tea; superb. Whenever I meet friends downtown for tea-ish related frivolity, this is usually the default.
My one major gripe – aside from the alcohol-to-tea ratio in their mixed drinks – is their take on matcha prep. Serving matcha powder in a 6oz clear cup and providing a 12oz teapot of “boiled” water is incorrect. This actually happened. When I asked for a stirrer or whisker, the attendant looked at me blankly…then came back with a straw.
I came here on a whim. It’s a lovely place with some great options. I picked up a bit of Silver Needle sheng puer on a whim and sat. It’s a bit more urban than I’m used to, but that’s part of its appeal; catering to more of a college-age crowed (which I’m most definitely not).
I’ve been here twice, and I don’t frequent it as much as I could/should. Both times were two of the classiest tea visits I’ve ever had. Oh yeah, and the teas are top-notch, too. It’s a little tucked away, but worth a stop or four.
My more in-depth review can be found here: