Monday, February 22, 2010

Tea in Seattle

I recently had the opportunity to explore Seattle's tea scene with a fellow Portland tea person who has been kind enough to show me around. It was a day trip, but we managed to check out quite a few spots:

Jade Garden - A dim sum place in Chinatown/"The International District" known for its delectable shrimp dishes. The jasmine pearls wasn't bad for a restaurant.

New Century - A charming tea shop, also in The International District. They have a gorgeous tasting area, complete with a carved old-growth tree tea table. I was impressed with their selection of teaware and picked up a basic gong fu boat while I was there.

The Teacup - A cafe-style tea shop with lots of regulars hanging out and plenty of people stopping in for a quick cup of tea. Good blended tisane selection. I've heard The Teacup's owner speak at The World Tea Expo, so it was fascinating to see in person what she had spoken about. Bonus - Brett (who is, I believe, the manager there) just got back from Taiwan and brought some of his finds with him. Awesome!

Floating Leaves - Not much to write home about in terms of ambiance, but my favorite in terms of tea selection. Very impressive Chinese and Taiwanese teas ranging from flowering teas to artisan oolongs. Bonus - The owner, Shiuwen, is extremely knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor. She also offers tours to Taiwan... and I have to say that I am seriously considering going on one soon!

Miro Tea - A cute, trendy tea cafe that, at first glance, reminded me a bit of Soy in NYC (across from Tea & Sympathy). I can't say much about it, as I was famished when I stopped in and ended up heading over to Root Table for dinner instead of teasing my appetite with Miro's crepes, etc., but I hope to visit again next time I'm in Seattle.

Speaking of next time... I hope to have time to sit down with Elin Head (who also writes for World Tea News) and Michael Coffey (of Tea Geek) and to stop by a few more tea places (Recommendations welcome!). I'll probably be in town for the Northwest Tea Festival, but perhaps sooner. We shall see!


Brett said...

Yeah Seattle! (Yep, I'm the manager of Teacup.)

I noticed that you put vegetarian and vegan interests in you blogger profile. Are you vegetarian or vegan? I'm vegan, but I haven't been out to Dim Sum here in Seattle since Vegetarian Bistro (also in the I.D.) closed about a year ago. I was just curious if you'd recommend the Jade Garden to a vegan?

Evan said...

If you ever find yourself in Seattle again, definitely check out Seattle Best Tea in the International District. They specialize in high-quality Taiwanese oolongs and various Pu-erhs, very much akin to Floating Leaves.

VeeTea said...

Brett -- Good question! I was vegan for a while and was veg for about 10 years. Now I eat seafood and chicken on occasion, but my diet skews heavily toward veg.

I would not recommend Jade Garden to vegans because I find that old-school, non-veg/non-Buddhist Chinese restaurants are sometimes notorious for cross-contaminating "vegetarian" and "vegan" foods with sauces and even with pieces of meat. However, for vegetarians who aren't really strict about sauces, etc., there are some great options -- just get made-to-order dishes instead of the foods from the carts.

Evan -- Thanks for the recommendation! I will make a point of going there.

Cindy W. said...

I grinned after reading this post--knew just who had to be your fellow Portland tea person because Jan and I have made the same rounds a few times. I'm sad that I wasn't free to join you two that day, but maybe next time!

Brett, she's right -- the Jade Garden is not veg friendly. However, I've been wanting to check out the new Macky's Dim Sum in Issaquah. It is not exclusively vegetarian, but it is run by the people who used to own Vegetarian Bistro in the ID. I'll send you some email or a note via facebook, if I find it has some worthwhile vegetarian options.


VeeTea said...

Hey, Cindy! Sorry we couldn't meet up. I hope to see you the next time I'm in Seattle!

Steph said...

You packed a lot in for a single day! :-) I was in OR last week for a whirlwind trip. Only had the chance to have tea at the Chinese Classical Garden. Can't wait to explore more this summer!

VeeTea said...

Steph, I hope to meet you then!

Anonymous said...

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