By Lara Berendt
While obviously not a coffee house, the Tea Embassy is one of my favorite caffeine suppliers in Austin. Whether you’re a tea novice or a tea connoisseur, this shop undoubtedly has something that will delight you.
My husband got me interested in tea several years ago and since then, we’ve been exploring the many varieties of loose leaf teas and brewers on the market. As with wines, if you’re not sure which kinds of tea you might like, the best thing to do is taste as many as you can to familiarize yourself with their attributes.
The Tea Embassy offers a wonderful venue for this kind of exploration. The staff members are exceedingly knowledgeable and can guide you in selecting the perfect tea, whether you’re seeking a strong caffeine kick in the morning or a soothing nighttime herbal blend. You can buy as little as an ounce or two of a tea to take home and try out. I usually don’t buy more than these small amounts because I always look forward to finishing them and returning to try something new.
The shop also carries every piece of tea paraphernalia you could ask for, from simple, chic single-cup infusers to ornate, hand-painted tea sets, and digital thermometers (water temperature is a an important factor in getting the optimal amount of flavor and nutrients from teas) to high-end electric teapots. You can find a beautiful gift here for tea newbies or tea lovers, at nearly any price range.
The Embassy is housed in a historic landmark, and the decor is steeped in Victorian kitsch. The house lacks a full kitchen, though, so the staff is unable to serve food, or even tea in actual ceramic cups (no kitchen means no dishwasher). Most of the shop’s business is in retail, but you can order a tasting cup—any variety of tea from their menu, which they steep with care and serve in a disposable cup. You can enjoy it in one of their cozy sitting rooms or take it to-go.
Some of my favorite recent Tea Embassy purchases include their Monkey-Picked Oolong tea, Georgian Village black tea, and Drum Mountain green tea from China. I also love the Curve tall mug by FORLIFE; my husband and I use them constantly because they allow us each to make a large cup of our preferred tea quickly and easily, instead of brewing a full pot of one kind of tea to share.
The business is family-owned and operated, and owners Jonathan and Amy, and the rest of the folks behind the counter, are always friendly and welcoming. If you’re interested in learning about the many benefits and joys of drinking tea, this shop is a lovely place to start.
The Tea Embassy
900 Rio Grande St
Austin, TX 78701
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