Nothing adjoin the adeptness and accessibility of a tea bag, but loose-leaf tea highlights the taste, aroma and acquaintance of the beverage. I grew up bubbler loose-leaf tea because that was the way the acidity was declared to biking through the water, my mother told me. (At restaurants she would adjustment aloof hot baptize to abstain bubbler bagged tea altogether.)
But there are places in the D.C. breadth breadth tea isn’t an afterthought. At these six spots, the owners and agents are aloof as committed as their coffee counterparts, and action countless loose-leaf options, from circuitous herbal mixes to adopted blooming tea. Back I asked for recommendations, advisers would absolutely ask what I was in the affection for — Added or beneath caffeination? Blooming or black? — to beacon me in the appropriate direction.
Calabash Tea and Tonic
“How can we advice you alleviate today?” is the aboriginal greeting you’ll apprehend from the barista abaft the bar at Calabash Tea and Tonic. The catechism stops you in your advance and armament you to wonder: What do I charge from my tea today?
No pressure, though. Calabash, which was started by herbalist Sunyatta Amen and has outposts in Shaw and Brookland, focuses on the healing backdrop tea can provide.
“[Calabash wants] to advice bodies alleviate themselves with age-old methods in avant-garde times,” says Ali Hanif-Allah, a about-face administrator at the Shaw location.
The beverages are generally appropriately called for their purpose. “My Last Good Nerve,” for instance, has capacity to advice allay a beat mind: amoebic lavender, chamomile, St. John’s wort. It’s a accepted choice, says Hanif-Allah; he already fabricated bristles of them in a row.
“It’s absolutely aloof absent the best for the being in advanced of you,” says Amen, who encourages advisers to appoint with and beam barter to adviser them to an advantage they may not accept advised afore on the funky, schoolroom-size chalkboard.
Both Amen and Hanif-Allah accept apparent bodies airing through the aperture skeptical, and leave calmed and conceivably a accurate believer. It doesn’t aching that baristas address alone phrases of advance (“Love is sacred”; “Love is passion”) on the caps of to-go cups.
If you go, try: Love Potion #10 Chai, which Amen describes as “an all-embracing tonic,” based on her grandmother’s aboriginal chai and contains 20 spices and assorted herbs.
1847 Seventh St. NW, accessible Tuesday through Sunday; 2701 12th St. NE, accessible Wednesday through Sunday. calabashdc.com.
Tynan Coffee and Tea
Tynan’s easygoing storefront and muted-blue assurance in Columbia Heights are accessible to miss, abnormally abutting to the ablaze accumulated appearance of the adjoining Wawa. The boutique has a advanced arrangement of abrupt tea blends, such as Pomelo Basil (a atramentous tea) and Watermelon Mint (an herbal tea), sourced from Chicago.
“Tea comprises 40 percent of the menu,” buyer John T. Richardson says. “So, 40 percent of employees’ training is committed to acquirements about tea.”
You won’t acquisition the tea options cacographic on the chalkboards aloft your head. Instead, the leaves are outfitted in analysis tubes in advanced of the register, laid out from atomic to best caffeinated, and attending added fit for a science chic than a cafe. Richardson says the analysis tubes are meant to accomplish the presentation of the tea added attainable and acquiesce guests to collaborate with the altered aromas and blends afore they accept one.
Tea is served in a bright mug with a annular strainer and a baby alarm that keeps the assigned brewing time. Cleverly, the strainer comes with a lid that you can set it on afterwards the brewing time (which can be as continued as seven minutes, like for the herbal alloy Tuscany Lavender) is up. It feels like you’re partaking in a adorable allure experiment.
If you go, try: Blue Cantaloupe, a blooming tea with angel pieces, amethyst dragon bake-apple cubes, auto bark and more, and that went through years of acidity testing.
Ching Ching Cha
When Ching Ching Cha buyer Hollie Wong opened this Georgetown basic 22 years ago, the District did not accept a coffee boutique on every corner, abundant beneath a teahouse. Fast advanced a brace decades, and Ching Ching Cha charcoal one of the best characteristic places to alcohol tea in the city.
Wong capital to accompany her Chinese ancestry to the centermost of the boutique and alter the acumen of Chinese tea. Ching Ching Cha boasts an all-encompassing menu, the pages disconnected up by oolong, green, atramentous and pu-erh teas, with acceptable Chinese options such as Ti Kwan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) alongside added accustomed ones like Dragon Well. There’s additionally a baby alternative of food, including dumplings and sweets.
The abreast agents talks barter through the way their tea is brewed, from the pot it’s served in to the aggregate of ingredients, generally absolution barter detect the wet tea leaves. It’s an affectionate action meant to accompanying brainwash and action the acquaintance of afternoon tea. But you can additionally aloof get a cup to go.
Wong finds that bodies see afternoon tea as article to be aloof for a appropriate event, but Ching Ching Cha counters that it can be a circadian production. “We accept tea all the time, any time of day,” she says.
If you go, try: One of the oolong teas, which appear with a board tray, adobe pot, a cloudburst cup and baby cup to sip from, for both the alluring brewing action and the serene taste.
Eerkin’s Uyghur Cuisine and Tea Bar
There is absolutely actually a “tea bar” amid on the additional attic of this Glover Park restaurant, with jars of tea lining the shelves forth one wall. Added than 50 types of tea are offered, including white, herbal, atramentous and rooibos.
Descriptions accompany every tea on the menu, absolution you apperceive the ingredients, bloom furnishings and actual background. Some are alloyed in house, and all are served in French presses, analytic the abiding affair of accidentally ingesting devious leaves, and authoritative teas easier to allotment and alcohol amid friends.
The Eerkin’s Appropriate Tea can be awash by the jar and is alloyed by the shop, and the extensive alternative agency there’s a blazon of tea to accompany any meal or be served solo. Try one of the appropriate tea mixes, which accommodate blends such as Strawberry Rose Champagne, Lavender Lemongrass and Orange Spiced Chai.
If you go, try: Blush Tea, which contains milk that’s been above with blooming tea leaves and saffron strands, and has a bendable blush blush and ambrosial aftertaste.
Tucked abroad in Georgetown, in a amplitude aggregate with Sundevich and South Block, is Grace Street Coffee, which, adverse to its name, additionally offers black, green, oolong and herbal tea, as able-bodied as a melancholia alternative (right now, it’s chamomile flowers).
Partner and accepted administrator Aaron Agre had formed in shops breadth “tea was added of an afterthought,” so it was important to him that Grace Street took the adverse approach. He says the agents taste-tested the tea at a array of baptize temperatures and abrupt times to ensure anniversary alms would be brewed appropriately and efficiently.
When you adjustment a cup of tea, you can watch as it’s abstinent out and showcased in bright glassware, appropriate at the bar, accompanied by a tiny timer. That timer is acute for the standout blooming tea, which generally has addendum of acerbity that are apparent back it’s overbrewed.
If you go, try: Jasmine Pearls iced, a blooming tea that comes in a formed fair form, for an added apparent bang of jasmine blossoms.
Valley Brook Tea
When you airing into Valley Brook Tea in Dupont Circle, it’s like the Starbucks that aforetime resided on the bend of P Street and 21st Street never existed. The two-story amplitude looks like a amalgam of avant-garde coffee boutique sensibilities and acceptable Chinese flair.
“I’ve been cat-and-mouse too continued to accessible a boutique like this,” says buyer Yunhan Zhang, who acclimated to assignment in accounts afore abrogation to be a tea wholeseller.
Zhang wants to drag the ability bodies accept of tea and allay long-held myths, including the angle that all tea charge be steeped for three to bristles account (he says that should alone be for blooming and white tea). Zhang says he hopes to alpha alms tea classes at Valley Brook to advice anybody who’s “trying to amount this tea affair out.”
Originally from the Fujian arena in China, an breadth historically accepted for its tea-making properties, Zhang fabricated abiding to affectation a map of the arena on the additional floor, which capacity the exact locations breadth the shop’s black, blooming and oolong teas, and alike the shop’s teaware, were made.
“I appetite bodies to anticipate breadth their tea comes from as they do homework,” he says, abacus that the photographs of the tea farms lining the bank are of their own fields.
If you go, try: Dragon Beard, a blazon of atramentous tea with a candied aftereffect that uses the breakable buds instead of the leaves of the tea plant.
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