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Seattle is known as the coffee capital of the United States. The locals are huge coffee addicts, spending on average $36 a month on coffee in one of the 1,100 coffee shops scattered around the city. In fact, with over 2.5 coffee shops for every 1,000 citizens, Seattle has the greatest concentration of coffee houses in the country. They say Seattle runs on caffeine, and coffee consumption is a huge part of Seattle culture. But the truth is it’s not all about java in the Emerald City.
Tea lovers, rejoice! Despite the overwhelming coffee addiction Seattle doesn’t turn its nose up at tea drinkers. It welcomes them with open arms, inviting them to taste its many tea varieties while cozying up in tranquil tea shops around the city. Seattle’s tea culture is just one of the merits of its diverse multicultural population, with many of the best tea houses modelled after Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese teashops.
Floating Leaves Teas, an artisan teas and tea-ware retailer, is one of the most well-known tea shops in the city. They carry a small selection of teas, particularly focusing on Taiwanese, Japanese, and Chinese varieties. Their teas are seasonal, unblended, and for the most part, single-estate. The tea shop holds daily tea tastings Thursday – Saturday, 12pm-2pm when tea lovers are invited to drop in and sample up to three varieties of seasonal tea offerings for just $5/person.
Miro Tea has more than 150 tea varieties available. The tea bar in the back of the shop offers a selection for tasting, often rotating through the flavours on a daily basis. From time to time, the shop also hosts tea workshops, educating customers on unique tea varieties. Miro Tea landed a spot on USA Today’s list of 10 great places to lounge with a cup of tea, so you know it’s a place worth checking out.
For a traditional British tea experience, there is Queen Mary Tea Room. This shop is the oldest independent tea room in America and was voted one of the five great American tea rooms by CNN Travel. The tea experience at Queen Mary comes with all the traditional British afternoon tea rituals and is set in Victorian elegance accented with English bone china and delicate lace.
Last but not least, there is Tea Republik, a quiet open space layout teahouse with dimmed lighting and comfy seating perfect for a nice relaxing tea experience. The shop is located in the University District and is frequented by students, many of whom spend hours studying in the café. The selection is amazing, with jars upon jars of loose-leaf teas, but the shop also features a unique menu of sweetened, fruit, or cream tea blends.
Don’t let this rather short list of the best tea shops fool you. This isn’t it! Places like Teahouse Kuan Yin, Remedy Teas, Teacup, Vital Tea Leaf and many others are great places to find a good afternoon cup of tea in the coffee capital. And the truth is, most of the best coffee houses in Seattle will also serve you a more than decent cup of tea, so you are never too far from a good brew.
Essential Travel Info:
Getting there: Most visitors to Seattle fly into Sea-Tac (Code: SEA) airport. The airport serves as a major hub for Northwest and West Coast destinations and is also serviced by many international trans-pacific routes from key European airports.
Getting around: Seattle’s public transportation system (Metro Transit) is a great way to get around the city. Google maps allow you to map your route using public transportation, which makes planning your trips easy and quick.
Where to stay: Accommodation in Seattle can be difficult to find if you are visiting in the summer. If you are planning ahead, there are lots of cheap hotels in Seattle to consider.