Americans have a fraught relationship with tea. We like to throw it in the ocean to make a point. But, in fact, tea is the second most consumed beverage worldwide, after water. It has been around for centuries to help with whatever ails you. It is both new and ancient, calming and invigorating, solitary and social, and always satisfying. And it is making its mark in Reno/Tahoe. Explore the diverse world of tea in the area where it is sure to delight the senses and soothe the soul.
Were to buy
Great teas can be found throughout Reno/Tahoe. Here are some purveyors where you can stock up:
Tahoe Teas is a family owned operation out of Tahoe City that prides themselves on their organic and environmentally conscious ingredients. Their loose-leaf teas are widely distributed. Give their Tahoe-inspired blends a try: Tahoe Balance is a soothing blend of organic green rooibos accented with flowers, oranges, and lemons, while Tahoe Local is an energizing blend infused with gotu kola, ginko biloba and damiana — a natural aphrodisiac … hmmm. Their teas can be purchased directly from their website or you can find them all over the basin. tahoeteas.com
Salty Savory Sweet just moved to a brand new location in Reno off South McCarran. Stepping into their shop is an olfactory experience. They sell creative loose-leaf tea blends, herbs, spices and other flavorings. They also offer a full tea bar where you can order a cup and then sip and shop your way through the store. At Salty Savory Sweet they are all about community. Tea brings people together to socialize. Be sure to try a cup of their cinnamon apple biscotti or Parisian creme brulee with a friend. salty-savory-sweet.com
Cha’ Fine Teas of Truckee is another local piece of charming pie. Pronounced “shaw,” Portuguese for tea, this shop is also a great place to expand your loose-leaf tea knowledge with one of their tastings. They also have a tea club, where they will ship you a tasty selection every quarter. Some particularly intriguing blends include apple pie chai, cherry cordial (there’s chocolate in there), and Earl Grey la creme. chafineteas.com
Davidson’s Teas is an impressive operation based in Sparks. They are Organic and Fair Trade Certified, and take great care to positively influence the lives of their growers. Their online store has a wide selection of tea and tea accessories, as well as an abundance of information regarding brewing tips, recipes and tea history. You can learn to make tea jelly! Their teas are served all over the region, including at The Jungle in Reno, The Cork & More in South Lake Tahoe, and I.V. Coffee Lab in Incline Village. davidsonstea.com
Where to drink
Looking to get out of the house and have a full tea experience? Try steeping yourself in one of these locations:
Too Soul Tea Co. is the best of both worlds – a great loose-leaf teashop and online store, as well as a cafe in Midtown that sells bites, smoothies and that other unspeakable caffeinated beverage. Some blends to look out for include raspberry vanilla mint green, Madagascar coconut white, and 4 horseman black. Keep an eye on their blog for the latest specials and snippets of interesting tea-related facts. toosoultea.com
Elevate Wellness Center in South Lake Tahoe takes the healthful side of tea up to lake level. At their new location at The Crossing, they’ve expanded to include a “Communi-Tea” bar. Here, local herbalist Misty McBride can create a custom tea blend to allay what ails you. They also regularly host “TEA (Time, Energy, Attention) parties,” which are health and wellness workshops offered free to the community. You can sign up for their monthly newsletter or check out their blog to stay current on upcoming gatherings. elevate-wellness.com
For the traditional, high tea party experience, check out Dee’s Bakery & Café in Sparks. A full service bakery and breakfast cafe, they also offer several high tea packages complete with tea sandwiches and scones for groups of 10 or more. Be sure to make your reservations in advance. If you have a little one who loves tea parties, but has perhaps outgrown her stuffed-animal guests, there is even a Mother Daughter High Tea Package. We highly recommend wearing large, fancy hats to complete the afternoon. deesbakery.com
Teas of a bubbly nature
Is flat tea just too plain for your taste? Try something with a little more effervescence. Kombucha and bubble tea both offer an extra bounce in your sip.
So just what is Kombucha anyway? Kombucha is a sweetened and fermented green or black tea that is usually flavored with fruity or floral notes. Because it’s fermented, many versions often do contain low amounts of alcohol. Fans of Kombucha swear by its health benefits, which has contributed to its rise in popularity. It can be found on tap or in a bottle, and there are brewers right here in Reno/Tahoe. Folk Brewing Co. and Bella Bucha Kombucha are both widely distributed. folkbrewing.com; bellabucha.com
Bubble tea is something else entirely. Originally invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, bubble tea is a sweet and often creamy tea-based drink with perplexing little chewy balls inside. Those mystery balls are actually made of tapioca (and yes, are perfectly edible). Bubble teas come with a very wide straw that allows these little balls to be sucked up, but usually results in a game of blowing them at your friends instead. In search of a good (game of) bubble tea? Try one of these locations: Bubble Tea Station inside Meadowood Mall, The Human Bean of Reno, or Honey Bakery. TheBubbleTeaStation; thehumanbean.com; Honey-Bakery
Life can be stressful. Let us learn from our neighbors across the pond and embrace a soothing sip of warm, aromatic tea. Cheers!
By: Rae and Troy Matthews