Coffee seems to get all the love around here, so it’s about time we turn our attention to its less caffeinated but equally as enchanting cousin: tea.
And Portland is a tea drinker’s paradise, as tea houses, tea shops and tea tasting rooms dot the city, from back-alley “speakteasies” to tea houses situated amongst lush Japanese gardens.
Today, we’re spilling the tea on some of the best tea houses in Portland, so you know where to turn the next time you’re craving a hot, comforting cup of tea. Each tea house provides an idyllic, relaxing environment and plenty of teas to choose from, whether you prefer white, red, black, oolong or chai.
Aesthete Tea is a QBIPOC-owned loose leaf tea brand based in Portland specializing in farm-direct organic teas and herbal blends. Most of Aesthete’s tea blends are created by founder Briana Thornton’s mother, Maggie Cassidy. Their herbs are primarily sourced from local Oregon farms, and old growth and ancient growth trees, some more than 250 and even 500 years old. We are eager for Aesthete’s minimalist tasting room to open in Multnomah Village, but until then, you can pick up your tea from their production house seven days a week!
As the name implies, Behind the Museum Café is a tea café tucked behind the Portland Art Museum. The café specializes in Japanese tea and foods, plus Japanese antiques, arts and crafts. They serve robust EXTRACTO coffee and Sugimoto America tea, alongside a simple menu with homemade sweets, sandwiches and an assortment of Japanese-style appetizers made with seasonal vegetables. The interior of Behind the Museum Café combines Japanese style with a modern flair to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
Find solace and solitude in one of the most unexpected places at Fly Awake Tea House, a secret tea house tucked in an alley behind SheBop in North Portland. The concept began as an art project, and eventually into a mobile tea shop, and now, Fly Awake has a permanent location with artful black-and-white murals and exceptional tea. They serve an array of organic tea blends and Indian savory and sweet treats. Peruse their selection of black, green, herbal, oolong, pu-erh and white teas you’ll find at Fly Awake.
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Escape to a serene oasis in the heart of the city with a visit to Lan Su Chinese Garden, considered the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. This 40,000-square-foot garden in Chinatown is a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. Plus, the gardens are accompanied by a serene teahouse, a space where you can sit, relax, and enjoy tea while gazing into the lush garden. They serve a selection of Tao of Tea teas, including white, green, oolong, pu-erh, black and herbal teas. And the tea selection changes as the seasons change, to reflect the ever-evolving views in the garden.
Lovejoy’s is a fairly new addition to Portland’s tea scene — but it has roots dating back to the ‘90s in San Francisco. In March 2019, Lovejoy’s Tea Room of Portland was opened by Brendon Constans, a long-time regular of this antique-store-meets-tea-house. Today, the tea house is cozy and quirky, featuring mismatched China and furniture, where you can enjoy warm scones, tasty tea sandwiches and bottomless pots of tea. Peruse Lovejoy’s wide selection of loose leaf teas, from black to oolong and green to yerba mate.
Inspired by the Hawaiian word Nalu, which most commonly refers to the waves of the ocean, Nalu Kava Lounge is a non-alcoholic lounge featuring decadent drinking chocolates, healing mushroom teas, and immune-boosting elixirs. This community-focused lounge offers a relaxing space to unwind, on both the outdoor rooftop patio and inside, which features moody lighting and natural elements.
Nestled in Portland’s iconic Washington Park, Portland Japanese Garden provides a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city for locals and visitors alike. This 12-acre garden includes eight separate garden styles amongst meandering streams, intimate walkways and an authentic Japanese tea house. Plus, Portland Japanese Garden is home to Umami Café, a modern tea house that serves tea from Tokyo-based Jugetsudo and light snacks from Ajinomoto. Visitors feel as though they’re sipping tea amongst the trees, as the café is perched above a hillside, offering views of surrounding natural beauty.
Many are familiar with Steven Smith Teamaker, one of the three companies co-founded by the late tea entrepreneur Steven Smith. Not only can you buy this famous tea brand world-wide, but you can also sample their teas in person right here in Portland. Here, you can sip on their tantalizing elixirs — and if you can’t decide, simply order a flight to sample several at once! And of course, take home a box of whatever tea you fall in love with.
Tea Bar is focused on simplicity; they offer a curated menu with a few thoughtfully chosen options, including boba made with grade A tapioca pearls and teas sourced from family farms all over the world. With two open locations (and two others that are temporarily closed), Tea Bar was opened by a 23-year-old named Erica, who had recently moved back to her hometown of Portland after living in China for two years. All of their teas are certified organic and fair trade, and they only use the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients in all of their products. All Tea Bar locations provide the same atmosphere — with clean lines, modern details, and a bright, welcoming and unpretentious vibe.
With several locations throughout the city — plus one in Eugene, Oregon! — Tea Chai Te is a staple for tea drinkers in Portland. You may be aware of their “caboose” location in Sellwood, which is exactly what it sounds like: a tea house tucked into an old train caboose. Each location has its own character and overall vibe, but all properly display their wide selection of teas in beautiful glass jars. And you could spend all day choosing the perfect one for you, as they have more than 100 handcrafted varieties to choose from, whether you prefer green or white, herbal or caffeinated, traditional or loose-leaf teas.
Is there anything more relaxing than a teahouse and a spa all in one? TeaScape Massage & Teahouse offers a wide range of massage services, including therapeutic massage, Ashiatsu, hot stone, cupping, Thai, and much more. Before or after your massage, sip on a cup of hot tea to increase relaxation. They have a curated selection of white, oolong, pu-erh, black and herbal teas.
NOTE: The teahouse at TeaScape Massage & Teahouse is currently closed due to COVID restrictions. Click here for more information about their reopening.
The Tao of Tea has evolved into a major national brand, selling tea, herbs and teaware to customers all over the country. But this teahouse on Belmont is where it all began in 1997. It was built with many natural and sustainable materials, including bamboo, reclaimed wood and raw stone. It’s a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for sipping their delicious teas, including oolong, pu-erh, yerba mate, and much more.
NOTE: The Tao of Tea’s Belmont teahouse is currently closed due to COVID restrictions. Click here for more information about their reopening.
Spill the Tea
What tea house in Portland is your favorite? Let us know all about them — whether or not they’re on this list!