Coffee is a staple in my life. It is my go-to for forward motion; it propels me into the day by telling me, wake up and get busy! Tea, however, says to me sit, enjoy, relax. There is something intentional about a cup of tea in the way it is brewed specifically for you. It requires you to slow down, display patience while the heat subsides. For all the busyness of mom-life, I treat myself to one of Portland’s many tea houses to meet that inner need for calm. Just as a specific flavor of tea may be chosen for a mood or time of day, I appreciate the offerings of the different tea houses around town. Here are four of my favorites:
With four tea house locations across Portland and a considerable menu, you can always find something to suit you. Upon walking in, all senses are filled. From sweet smells, to natural light, and miss-matched cozy couches. Friends are gathered and laptops are open. It exudes a neighborhood feel. Teas are brewed to order, and can be served hot or iced. Black tea, herbal, rooibos, white tea, the list goes on. They have an extensive list of Apothecary, and during cold and flu season, my husband and I routinely drink their Cold Kicker; chock full of Echinacea, elderberry, and other herbs blended for beating a cold. Bubble tea features your choice of tea base, flavor (which can be vegan), and tidbits. Also on tap is their own kombucha brand, Brew Dr. Kombucha.
Nestled in Northwest, Kiva greets you with red accents and a menu worth perusing. In addition to tea, they offer bowls, sandwiches, smoothies, and salads. A lengthy loose tea menu has traditional flavors as well as their award winning white coconut crème tea. Yum! The house made Turmeric Ginger Chai with almond milk is my recommendation. Should you happen to be at Kiva with a non-tea drinking companion, they have a nice selection of coffee drinks too, including Bullet Proof Coffee. With a spa on site, it’s a go to place for mama’s night out, a romantic date night, or any occasion worth celebrating.
Light and bright, the aesthetic of all three Tea Bars (NE, SE, NW) is as soothing as the tea. Minimalist, simple, and clean, it is everything my home isn’t, and that is one reason I love treating myself to a visit. Oh, and the beverages! Their organic and gluten-free Boba is delightful, Vanilla Rose being one of the most popular flavors. Seasonal drinks round out the menu, and a new addition is Thai Iced Tea, with no added colors or flavors (say goodbye, red dye). I appreciate the milk alternatives, especially unsweetened almond and coconut milk. Give the Dirty Detox a try; a mix of activated charcoal, organic lavender, lemon juice, and local raw honey. Your body will thank you!
At the door you’re welcomed with a sign that says ‘Entering a tea sanctuary – No cell phone use, please.’ Ahh, deep breath! With well over 100 loose leaf teas, you not only can smell the flavors, but they will brew you a complimentary sample. Large, west-facing windows bathe the space in natural light, and a communal area with cushioned benches welcome you to sit and stay awhile. There are four chai latte varieties on the menu, however you can also request one with your tea of choice. House-made tea sodas include Vanilla Rooibos and Lime Twist. A nice selection of teaware is also available for purchase.
Tea drinking has a very ritualistic feel to me; the purposeful choosing, the steeping, the restraint while it cools. It cultivates patience and calm. As a mama who often forgets a boiling teapot until it whistles and screams at me, I appreciate the variety of tea houses Portland provides.