Tea Country Represents at Teaism in Washington, DC
December 7, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, US - Washington, DC may be home to Embassy Row, one of the highest concentrations of international consulates in the world. This American capital may also be an international capital, at least for diplomats and dignitaries. In this world city, however, one embassy stands out from the rest. Teaism−a local tea chainlet whose Penn Quarter location is a stone’s throw Southeast of the Row’s Dupont Circle ‘hood−displays a high-impact ambassadorship all on its own.
Like any proper embassy, this teahouse conveys the culture of its country, which in Teaism’s case is actually two countries: Japan and England. Through imported tea accessories, a Japanese-inspired interior, and a menu of complex teas worthy of their homelands, Teaism lives by the mission that originally inspired it: to counter the ubiquity of tea bags and other American corruptions of foreign tea culture.
In this zen space, wood panels line the walls and koi dart about a pond derivative of a Japanese rock garden. Bento boxes retail at the teahouse’s shop alongside scone mix and The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea. And a menu of three dozen teas comprises blacks, greens, whites, oolongs, and tisanes. Guests can even elect to take theirs with culture-appropriate bites: tea sandwiches, tartlets, and truffles with Earl Grey, for instance, and rice balls, nori, and mochi with Jasmine Pearl.
But as Teaism knows from its brewing practices, nothing can sap tea of its flavor like the wrong water temperature. And to best serve as a messenger of its source cultures, the teahouse has gracefully adapted to the needs of its casual and thoroughly American host city as well. In addition to Japanese soups, Thai curries, and Indian naan, comforting American breakfast foods are available here seven days a week.
Washingtonians are also known to be a social bunch, so Teaism doesn’t get too caught up in adhering to the rituals of tea ceremony, with a cheerful and chatty staff. Above all, the teahouse fosters a welcoming atmosphere. Though serene, the house is always full, and that open, teahouse-inspired layout is warm and inviting. Plus, the koi that swim in its first-floor pond just happen to be purported bearers of good fortune.
Now that’s ambassadorial.
Read more about Hotel Helix in our Washington, DC Guide.