TEA HOUSE KUAN YIN
This is a 'two teapot' place. The establishment is called Tea House Kuan Yin, and it's located at 1911 N 45th, in the Wallingford area of Seattle, WA. The Tea House has been at its current location for eight years. I worked at this establishment for about a year and have been a 'tea regular' there for about five years now (this is like my 'bar' that I visit on a regular basis). Their website address is www.teahousechoice.com. There you can get descriptions of their teas, and place orders for tea which will be shipped to you.
Tea House Kuan Yin is currently owned by James Labe, a tea connoisseur and advisor. The Tea House offers a nice selection of black teas, if you're into black teas, and James makes sure he gets the 'best' teas available from the various tea plantations of his suppliers. If you are lucky enough to encounter the owner (he travels a lot, in order to find and purchase the best teas), he can help you select the right tea for your 'experience,' as he calls it.
Besides the black teas, there's also a good selection of Oolongs, and green teas. Oh yeah, Chai is also featured ... a Kashmir Chai and a Yerba Chai. The herbal teas here are also good. There are the well known herbals, but they also feature their own trademark blends of herbal teas, such as 'Haiku' ( my favorite herbal ). Other blends include 'Wu-Wei' (which is better iced than as a hot tea, in my opinion), 'World Peace,' and 'Tsudo Cha.' And that's just a taste of the herbal teas.
As for the place itself, it is not all that spacious when it gets busy. You almost sit one on top of the other. But when there aren't too many people there it's nice. The atmosphere has changed somewhat during the time Iíve been going there. Itís a good place for students to study, and for friends to gather to talk about life etc. or a good place for a date, if you feel you need a comfortable place to talk. Cell phones are a 'no-no,' (but still, people just donít get it). Please, donít use your cell phones in the Tea House ... nobody comes there to hear your phone conversations (sorry ... a little personal rant there).
Wi-fi is the latest feature at the Tea House, so if you need to sit and surf or e-mail via your computer, and have tea while you do it, then you can join the latest craze.
As for the food, I feel the quality has changed from what I remember. The selection of food now is OK, but nothing really exciting. There is always a load of desserts, and they now feature vegan cookies, soy milk, and soups (mostly vegan). Juice and ice cream are also available. In the summer time there is a nice selection of iced teas ... ask for 'Wu-wei,' iced.
Though there have been some huge changes at the Tea House, from the last owner to the current owner, I still hang out there ... because Iím a tea dork, and I enjoy sitting down watching the world outside the windows. There's also a fish tank to vegetate in front of if you want to tune out the world or people in general. Like I said before, there have been some changes, but itís still a good place to sit and enjoy your tea.
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