While it’s no secret that Seattle excels in the coffee department, this city’s diverse cuisines and devotion to premier beverages also make it a destination for tea.
Since 2007, loyal fans have flocked to Ballard’s Miro Tea (5405 Ballard Ave N), a cafe that blends a contemporary environment and offerings with the fundamental elements of a traditional teahouse—in other words, a friendly space where community members regularly work and convene with others. “Seattle is a great tea drinking town because it already has a strong beverage culture. We are able to cater directly to that existing culture, while providing a healthier beverage option,” says Jeannie Liu, founder and owner.
Here, the tea drinker chooses between some 150 varieties, about 60 percent of which are unblended, single-origin teas like aged oolongs, plus sweetened drinks like Fireside Hot Chocolate with smoky Lapsang souchong black tea. Not sure where to start? The friendly staff can help explain the differences between varieties and provide recommendations, including options like iced teas and tea lattes.
Explore other tea dens like Wallingford’s Friday Afternoon (4228 Stone Way N), whose selections include pop culture-themed blends made on-site for those who love Nintendo or My Little Pony. Enjoy the geeky glamour during Friday game nights or quirky events like tea and cheese pairing sessions. In the University District, keep your mug full well into the evening at popular student hangout Tea Republik (4527 University Way NE). Or settle in among the plants and hammocks of Fremont’s light-filled Café Con Todo (213 N 36th St), preferably after ordering a Steepologie tea like Smoky Chai or Pineapple Papaya Bliss. For the ultimate combination, complement your hot drink with a vanilla waffle topped with maple syrup, coconut whipped cream, or macadamia dark chocolate.
Even trendy spots like Stone Way’s MiiR (3400 Stone Way N), which may initially seem geared toward the coffee and beer set, feature an extensive array of Rishi teas. Try options ranging from Moroccan Mint to Matcha and Blueberry Rooibos. For a completely different experience, savor a history lesson alongside your tea and pastry at the Chinatown-International District’s Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House (607 S Main). This Japantown time capsule is a living museum, a functioning hotel, and a National Historic Landmark, serving the local Japanese American community since 1910. The charming cafe provides a look back at the neighborhood’s storied past.
Finally, indulge in the English tradition of afternoon high tea at The Georgian (*411 University St), complete with the upscale ambiance from the Palladian windows, intricate chandeliers, and elaborate china sets. Select from a variety of flavorful loose-leaf teas, like creamy Earl Grey or fruit-forward Ontario Ice Wine tea, to sip with sweet and savory bites of finger sandwiches, macarons, and fresh-baked scones.
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