Seattle does love its tea. Honest. The Northwest’s coffee mastery unfortunately obscures the fact that there are plenty of residents who don’t even drink coffee or even just plain prefer tea. Coffee fueled the go-go high-tech 1990s, so maybe tea is an appropriate beverage for the mellow, reflective hangover (not that the city doesn't still have its fair share of coffee spots). Most of the best coffee houses serve a more than decent cup of tea, but for the best brew head to one of these great dedicated tea rooms.
Teahouse Kuan Yin
Nestled unassumingly on Wallingford’s busy Market Street, Kuan-Yin is about as relaxed a tea room as you are likely to find. The furniture is just the right amount of worn. A bookcase provides books on architecture, travel, and classic cinema. The tea is a deep, diverse mix of traditional teas from around the world, including puerh, oolong, and black and green teas from India, China, and Japan. Just far enough away from the university to keep the more frantic younger crowd out but close enough to attract a clientele with plenty of character.
Where: 1911 N 45th Street, Seattle (Wallingford)
A cozy yet sleek shop on Ballard Avenue, Miro Tea is the perfect place to steal away on those drizzly Sunday afternoons that bring you to Ballard for a misty stroll. For those who brave the elements, Miro will reward you with an abundance of loose teas, some classic and some as funky as their corner of the city. Looking for a little more? Their baked goods and crepes are just right for a “not quite hungry enough for potatoes and 6-egg omelet” mornings. Try the “London Fog” while you’re there: a rich milky tea infusion with just enough sweetness.
Where: 5405 Ballard Avenue NW, Seattle (Ballard)
Cederberg is an area of South Africa that serves as the source of rooibos tea, which happens to be a specialty of Cederberg Tea House. Owned by a mother-daughter team, this tea house has a unique focus: South African pastries and sweets and rooibos tea espresso drinks. While you can order more run-of-the-mill drinks, don't miss the rooibos latte.
Where: 1417 Queen Anne Avenue N, Ste 101 B, Seattle (Queen Anne)
Tea Republik in the U-District is known for its wide selection of teas from all around the world. You might try a Thai tea, milk tea or any number of brewed teas in a spot. However, Tea Republik is known for its milk teas. Try a Lavender Earl Grey for a smooth, creamy and sweet tea treat.
Where: 4527 University Way NE, Seattle
Tacoma's Mad Hat Teas is a tea house located right downtown that aims to be a place where tea-lovers can unplug. There are hundreds of teas created by the shop (and offered in many local coffee shops as well) and it's affordable to try many of them rather than having to try just one. A small pot of tea is just a few dollars so try one or try a few. If you aren't sure what to order, the staff can help you with recommendations. If you find one you love, you can purchase loose leaf tea by the ounce to take home.
Where: 1130 Commerce Street, Tacoma
Updated by Kristin Kendle.