Tea is one of the world’s most popular drinks, second only to water. It is a drink of remarkable versatility that might find a place during any time of the day. However, tea does not have nearly the same popularity in the U.S. that it does in other countries around the world.
Ever since the Boston Tea Party, which occurred nearly 250 years ago, many Americans have preferred coffee as their warm drink of choice. High taxes on tea ultimately caused the number of tea drinkers to decrease and affected the long-term popularity of tea in the U.S.
That idea has begun to change, and tea is seeing a new burst of popularity as trends of increased international travel and interests in healthy living are making high quality and unique teas available.
Tea culture has found its niche in Portland and continues to thrive across the city. Portland is the home to many different tea shops, from small single location shops to larger companies with a much bigger scope of influence.
Listed below are a few shops located around the city, which really embrace the tea culture of Portland.
Behind the Museum Cafe
1229 S.W. 10th Ave.
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Behind the Museum Cafe is a quaint Japanese-influenced cafe located directly behind the Portland Art Museum (hence the name). It specializes in Japanese-style green teas, but also serves coffee, pastries and small entrees to compliment the experience. It is a beautiful and quiet location not far from the Portland State campus where one can settle down with a pot of tea and some treats and study.
Stash Tea Retail Store & Tea Bar
3972 N. Mississippi Ave.
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Many people know the Stash Tea company as an iconic addition to grocery stores across the country, but many Portlanders may not realize that Stash is indeed a homegrown company. The Stash Retail Store offers all of the same teas that you can find in your local store, but what makes it different is that you can also find many different loose-leaf blends, as well as teaware to add to your collection. Whether you are grabbing a cup of tea while walking down Mississippi Ave. or searching for some interesting loose-leaf teas to bring back home, this is the place for you.
Tea Chai Te
734 N.W. 23rd Ave.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Tea Chai Te owner Dominic Valdes’ interest in tea was sparked about 10 years ago as a student at the University of Oregon.
“I sensed a growing interest in all things tea among my peers as well, but there was simply no comfortable, chill places to go. Coffee shops weren’t offering much tea. The only tea shops were English-style high tea places with crumpets, doilies and big hats, which I have no interest in,” Valdes said.
“My motivation was to design a shop serving really high quality teas from around the world in an environment I felt like drinking tea in, listening to music I liked to listen to. Fortunately many others liked our style, and now we have retail and wholesale customers all over the world.”
Sporting three locations across Portland, Tea Chai Te offers students a relaxing and hip place to listen to good music and find many unique and organic blends of tea. The N.W. 23rd location is easily accessible by the streetcar and offers over 100 blended teas and chai lattes, all made from scratch. It is the perfect location to stop by for a quality cup of tea or to stay for a while to enjoy the environment.
Townshend’s Tea Company
3531 S.E. Division St.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Townshend’s Tea Company is another iconic addition to the Portland tea scene. Their two locations in Portland keep the college student in mind, offering the relaxing coffeehouse-type environment, but with tea! Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha can also be found on campus at the vegetarian restuarant Food for Thought.