Tea lovers, rejoice! Portland may seem to run on coffee, but more and more high-quality teahouses and teamakers are setting up shop in the Rose City. Here’s a list of five of my favorites. All offer high-quality teas, herbals, tea ware and specialty tea drinks, so you’ll never run out of fine blends to sample.
Jasmine Pearl Tea Company
Offering over 100 imported, hand-blended and house-roasted teas in their cozy Asian-themed tasting room and teashop in the city’s northeast quadrant, where you can see, smell and sample any of their teas for free. Not to miss are their freshly brewed tea and tea lattes, such as a sweet yet earthy matcha-and-rose petal infusion, as well as house-made sparkling tea sodas, like the Vanilla Rooibos.
Townshend’s Tea Company
With multiple teahouses located throughout Oregon (four of which are in Portland), Townshend is one of the largest tea purveyors in the state, serving over a million cups of tea every year. Along with 100+ varieties and blends, you’ll find made-from-scratch chai, herbal tisanes, bubble tea with slow-cooked tapioca pearls and house-brewed kombucha. Their artsy-meets-industrial atmosphere is welcomes you to plunk down on a couch and stay awhile. This is one of the few teahouses in Portland where I’d feel comfortable bringing my son.
Teahouse in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections
Arguably the most tranquil places to sip in Portland is situated downtown inside the walled Lan Su Chinese Garden and run by long-time local fair trade tea merchant, the Tao of Tea. I enjoy Tao’s excellent loose-leaf Chinese tea in traditional cups – choose from oolong, green, black and white – while munching on tasty snacks and gazing out at the classical lake, bridges and pavilions. Note: you’ll need to pay admission to the garden to access the teahouse.
Although without a brick-and-mortar retail location, this Portland-based online organic, fair trade purveyor is one that all tea lovers should know. Along with their deliciously creative blends (I could drink their Reading Nook blend all day long!) and tea of the month club community, the company also hosts a variety of tea-themed events throughout the Northwest, such as tea + yoga or tea cocktail parties. Events are listed on their Facebook page.
Steven Smith Teamaker
One of my all-time favorite teamakers, named for its founder, the late tea maven Steven Smith. Enjoy a flight of their excellent teas, handcrafted tea lattes (I love their Darjeeling Crème Caramel), freshly brewed iced teas, teas on tap and more at their two tasting rooms. The first is located in a former blacksmith shop on NW Thurman Street, the other in a warehouse in Portland’s bustling Central Eastside.