Tea Time and Again

Tea Time and Again: 10 local sources for steeping in style
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Hanami Tea, Asheville

Named for the Zen practice of taking in the beauty of cherry blossoms, it is also a reference to late-night parties in modern Japan held under those same blooming trees. Hanami boasts an array of 13 blended organic teas, each named for different mythological goddesses from around the globe. You can often find owner Kathryn Raea hawking her wares at the Grove Arcade Maker’s Market downtown, or order online. hanamitea.com

High Climate Tea Company, Asheville

Specializing in the teas and traditions of China and Taiwan, the fine folks of High Climate travel to China regularly to select their teas. Thanks to their explorations, you can simply sit down in their elegant tea room and sample everything from Dragonwell to bricks of aged and fermented Puerh. One of Asheville’s premier locally owned tea houses, High Climate also offers retail and bulk sales. highclimatetea.com

3 Mountains, Asheville

Partnering with tea farms in Rwanda, 3 Mountains sells fair trade loose leaf teas (black, green, silver, white, and tulsi lemongrass) as well as canned, ready to drink sparkling teas through their Sarilla label. Proceeds benefit the Africa Healing Exchange, helping women in Rwanda to cultivate entrepreneurial skills. 3Mountains.org

The Book & Bee, Hendersonville

A celebration of literature and tea, this quaint café and tea house hosts afternoon tea by reservation and cream tea anytime. Choose between the primary Stratford Room, the floral-themed Garden Room, the Tolkien pub-themed Eagle & Child Room, or the Jubilee Room (themed in honor of Queen Elizabeth II). Afternoon tea features a spread of finger sandwiches, scones with jam, lemon curd, Devonshire cream, and desserts. thebookandbee.com

A Southern Cup, Hendersonville

Don’t let the dollhouse kitsch of this cozy tea house fool you—the former feed-and-seed turned cafe offers some of the best high-tea spreads in the region. Chicken salad croissants, killer egg sandwiches, and a host of pastries round out the two-tiered tower of caffeinated power. Frilly enough for a baby shower or kid’s birthday party, but subtle enough for a lunch date, with a serious tea selection to boot. Owner Kym Brown continues the age-old tradition of the Black-owned tea houses of the South—a place for anyone and everyone. asoutherncup.com

Asheville Tea Company, Asheville

In just 5 years, this small tea brand has taken the town by storm, offering a range of blends that feature products from local farms like Asheville Grey—black tea, calendula flower, and bergamot oil—or G & Tea blend of moringa, lime, lemon basil, lime peel, and juniper berries. They also offer blends made with yaupon, an indigenous holly leaf used by Native Americans to create a tea-like infusion. AshevilleTeaCompany.com

Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, Arden

Nestled just off of Brevard Road in Arden, Ivory Road Cafe dishes affordable breakfast and lunch, but call to make a reservation and you can request Afternoon Tea, served at 2 p.m. after lunch service has ended for the day. For $22 per person (just $12 for kids), guests can choose from a variety of local teas including Asheville Tea Co. and 3 Mountains, and enjoy a spread of pastries, sandwiches, and desserts in a delightful setting. ivoryroadavl.com

Spice it Up!, Black Mountain

A mainstay of Cherry Street in downtown Black Mountain for over a decade, Spice it Up! may look like solely a spice shop from a peek through the front window, but their tea room is nothing to scoff at. With over 100 loose leaf teas, puerh bricks, tea ware, and a collection of tetsubin to choose from, it’s a great place to find something new to try. spiceitupinc.com

Spice of Life & Variety Tea, Hendersonville

Jeff and Alisha Swientek thought they were just buying a spice store, but as Jeff became progressively more obsessed with Chinese tea traditions, Spice of Life has developed a side gig as a tea house as well. Facilitating traditional Chinese tea services for groups of four or less, it’s a great place to nerd out and learn about tea. The shop also offers bulk tea and spice sales. spiceoflifeinc.com

Dobra Tea, Asheville

Originally founded in Prague in the 1980s, Dobra Tea Rooms have spread around the world, with 10 in the US and over 30 in Europe. Dobra Asheville opened downtown in 2010 and followed with a West Asheville location in 2015, offering an incredibly wide variety of traditional tea services from around the world through a carefully curated and exceedingly broad, global tea selection, which is also available for retail purchase. Dobra also offers tea classes for the curious sipper. DobraTeaNC.com