Although Seattle, and, indeed, America, appear to run on coffee, many other cultures in the world typically choose tea — did you know it’s actually the second-most consumed beverage in the world after water? Since one of Seattle’s greatest qualities is its representation of diverse cultures, particularly from tea-loving Asian countries like China and Japan, it makes sense that the city would have a variety of options when it comes to tea.
Made from the Camellia sinensis family of plants, true tea has caffeine and comes in a half-dozen varieties that have been processed in different ways: black, oolong, white, green, yellow, and puer. But shops featuring herbal tisanes — made from other plants —and various flavored and blended teas are lumped in here, too. (Stores focusing primarily on bubble tea are not included.)
Whether you’re looking for a place to have a truly unique tea like a long-aged puer, to rejuvenate with some spearmint or licorice tisanes, or just to step in out of the rain for a quick cuppa with cream and sugar, you’ll want for nothing in the Emerald City. And if you feel lost in the world of tea, these are the kinds of places you should feel empowered to ask questions — a little knowledge will seriously enhance your experience.
1. Zen Dog Studio
This tea house/art gallery hybrid serves up more than just a much-needed cup of oolong. Zen Dog, the owner, curator, and tea master, runs the show at this Crown Hill location, where you can rent out the gallery for private tea tastings and dig into some epic views of the Olympics.
2015 NW 85th St Seattle, WA 98117 | (206) 784-8289 | VISIT WEBSITE
2. Coyle’s Bakeshop
Not officially a teahouse, this lovely bakery’s concise selection and proper preparation of tea is nevertheless impressive enough to warrant a recommendation. The shop also hosts popular, semi-regular ticketed afternoon tea events, which it describes as “part classic high tea, part pastry chef’s tasting menu,” and which feature copious small courses of savory treats, fresh pastries, and desserts along with tea pairings and even an option to add sparkling wine.
8300 Greenwood Ave N Seattle, WA 98103 | (206) 257-4736| VISIT WEBSITE
3. Miro Tea
Offering more than 200 teas and herbals, utilizing proper brewing techniques, and welcoming guests to resteep to their heart’s content, Miro is Seattle’s top tea shop — the airy venue facing the Ballard Farmers Market even has outdoor seating. With a tea bar in the back of the shop that has a rotating selection of new teas daily for sampling, occasional Sunday tea classes, and knowledgeable staff, the company is serious about tea education, yet still casual enough for anyone who’d rather just grab a breakfast blend and work on a laptop. If all that learning makes you hungry, try one of the shops’ crepes or sandwiches.
5405 Ballard Ave NW |Seattle, WA 98107| (206) 782-6832 | VISIT WEBSITE
4. Floating Leaves Tea
This is one of Seattle’s few fully “authentic” teahouses, meaning you won’t find any artificially flavored teas or herbal tisanes here. Modeled after a Taiwanese tea shop, the store primarily sells Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese teas. If you stop by for one of the shop’s drop-in tastings, you can taste a few different varieties, with several cups of each one, so you can find your favorite type.
1704 NW Market St | Seattle, WA 98107| (206) 276-9542 | VISIT WEBSITE
5. Tea Republik
Open late most nights of the week and into the wee hours on weekends, this popular shop is a good place to “go out” without hitting the bar and club scene — there’s a location on Capitol Hill, as well. As with any teahouse worth its salt, Tea Republik has jars upon jars of loose-leaf teas for you to choose from. What makes this shop unique, however, is its creative fruit or cream tea blends, sweetened. Try the Chocolate Chimp Chai or Lavender Cream Earl Grey.
4527 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105|(206) 497-7631 | VISIT WEBSITE
6. Queen Mary Tea Room
If it’s a traditional English tea you’re after, you must pay a visit to Queen Mary Tea. Decked out in full Victorian splendor, this cozy little teahouse flaunts plenty of frills and flowers; even the shrubs surrounding the entry are manicured. The number of treats that come with high tea are astounding. The tea is also accompanied by a glittering bowl of colored sugar, which will delight princesses of all ages. If you truly want to feel like a queen for the day, ask for a tiara to wear during your visit.
2912 NE 55th St| Seattle, WA 98105 |(206) 527-2770 | VISIT WEBSITE
7. Cederberg Tea House
This is one of the few places in America where you can get a rooibos tea latte made the traditional South African way: on an espresso machine. That’s right, the tea is finely ground and pulled as a shot (just as it would be with coffee) off an espresso machine and blended with steamed milk. The teahouse also serves iced teas like the Rooibos Fresh (apple juice with two shots of Rooibos tea) as well as delicious traditional South African tea-time treats (both sweet and savory) such as koeksisters, malva pudding, and sausage rolls.
1417 Queen Anne Ave N |Seattle, WA 98109 | (206) 285-1352 | VISIT WEBSITE
8. Remedy Teas
Leave it to Capitol Hill to have the trendiest teahouse in town. Decorated in white and green, the store has a relaxing vibe; the 150 organic teas sold in the shop are found in rows of numbered tubes on the wall, like potions in an ultra-modern apothecary. The best part is that with so many categories of tea to choose from (wellness, white, green, oolong, black, puer, rooibos, herbal, and mate), customers are invited to examine and smell the ones they are interested in before making a final choice.
345 15th Ave E Seattle, WA 98112 |(206) 323-4832 | VISIT WEBSITE
9. Perennial Tea Room
This little brick store in Post Alley has an old-timey feel and a British bent. Sample a few teas while you peruse the huge selection as well as the brewing devices and snacks (many are imported from Britain and hard to find in the U.S.). If you find a taste you like, buy a cup and grab a seat at one of the tables in the store and watch the world go by (you can also purchase tea leaves to brew at home). Note that the shop recently changed hands, but should continue on as before.
1910 Post Aly Seattle, WA 98101 |(206) 448-4054 | VISIT WEBSITE
10. Bookstore Bar and Cafe
No, it’s not officially a teahouse, but Bookstore has a wide selection of teas available regularly, which is rare at a restaurant. Its Author’s Corner section also features “Afternoon Delight” high tea for brunch Saturdays and Sundays, which chef Eric Rivera likens to “western dim sum” given the many playful and delectable tea sandwiches and tea varieties that crowd the table on each occasion.
1007 1st Ave Seattle, WA 98104 |(206) 624-3646 | VISIT WEBSITE