Tea is one of those things people think is gross because they have only had it served in the most bitter of styles. Steeped for too many minutes or at too high of a temperature makes any leaf taste like it should be back on a tree. There are connoisseurs of tea right here in Austin who take true pride in educating us on how tea should be, and your taste buds will be the true learners of the experience.
The Steeping Room
The Steeping Room is a deeper love of mine than chocolate covered bananas. Every time I drove through Austin, before moving here, this is where I stopped. They steep all their teas to the time it needs, as well as at the perfect temperature. Their eats include incredible scones with this clotted cream your mouth will hate you if you miss. There’s also a praline vegan spread. The apricot spiced scone is my favorite. Very diet friendly and all teas can be taken in a loose-leaf version in bags at the front.
The Steeping Room has also paired with Lick to make a black tea ice cream with their Kenilworth Ceylon Black Tea and a strong pour of Paula’s Texas Spirits Lemon & Grapefruit liqueurs. Only available for a bit.
The tea place of indecisions helps the ADHD brains out with a tea flight here. You can choose any four teas on the menu for only $8.
Zhi Tea’s Candice had a dream of selling tea that was 100% sustainable and fair trade. You can now drink that dream. Zhi Tea is sold all over the world and started here in Austin. Their storefront is on the beautiful Eastside. In 2009 they even received a “Local Heroes Award” from Edible for their part in the Austin community.
Guan Yin Tea House
A true community around tea is found here. They have events held weekly such as introvert tea, meditations, Cards Against Humanity, and dancing parties. Check their Facebook for more events. Sunday is their best event in my opinion as the whole community comes together and drinks endless tea for $10.
They serve tea Gong Fu Cha style which is where they pour hot water into the tea and pour it into your cup within a span of many seconds. They continuously pour the hot water over the leaves, or cocoa nibs, for many minutes in order to taste the flavor develop as the leaves progress.
Coffee Houses with Delightful Leaves
Rule of thumb at coffee houses with tea, get herbal tea. With herbal tea, it can be steeped for ten minutes and at a boiling temperature. Since most water at shops is poured directly from a hot water spout attached to a machine this is the only way to not get bitter tea.
StoutHaus has a full on tea selection that is actually sourced from The Steeping Room. Their lemongrass selection is incredible and make sure to ask for a second steeping once you finish the first pot, just go up to the coffee wizard and ask for more hot water. Let the first pot steep for about four minutes and the second pot for about six.
Houndstooth has a cascara tea, which is the hulls of coffee beans, and it tastes like rich cherry tea. It has less caffeine than coffee but definitely enough to buzz your senses. Since this place strives for excellence in all things liquid then you will not be disappointed by any tea from here. Unless it’s green. Only get green at an actual tea shop.