I spent a memorable afternoon here in excellent company; the Chai Chai Chai is wonderful served with local milk and honey, as is the one called Sweet Smell of Jerusalem. My only regret is that I visited so close to the end of my stay in the Black Mountain/Asheville area! The low tables and floor-cushions remind me of my favorite Moroccan restaurant at Covent Garden in London.
I met up with an old friend here back in 2008, and not only was the food wonderful, but the pottery cups used to serve tea here are wonderfully off-the-wall handmade pieces by a local artisan (you can also buy specimens to take home; I left with two). I’m easily impressed by proper, traditionally prepared chai due to its relative scarcity; you’ll find that here, and more. Next time I’m in SF, I’m making a beeline back.
I’ve been a patron at this establishment off and on for the past ten years, and I’ve never had anything but praise for it. Space and tables may be limited, but if you can snag yourself a space, you’re in for a quiet, relaxing day of work or reading or whatever it is you need to do. Some of the most fascinating conversations I’ve ever overheard in public have transpired here. The Masala Chai is second to none, and I highly recommend the Copley Square Vanilla.
This is my first stop locally for single-estate black teas. The variety is fantastic, and you’ll definitely find some quality blends and flavored teas that you won’t find anywhere else. In the basement, they keep pots of different teas hot at all times so you can pour yourself little sample cups. It’s a brilliant concept! Tea Palace also does custom blends, although I think that’s via the website. I asked for Assam Mangalam with organic rose petals once and got exactly what I hoped (and paid) for.
I rate this shop much higher for its unusual tea-ware than for the actual tea. It carries quite a large variety, yes, but most of them seem to be flavored teas that don’t even necessarily contain actual pieces of the fruit or whatever’s meant to be flavoring them; a lot of them are artificial aromas. You can find a few single-estate varieties of green and black teas here, as well as a large selection of bagged/boxed teas. Head upstairs for the staggering array of teacups, pots, and other paraphernalia once you’ve had a look at the ones they keep in the glass cases downstairs. Very pleasing to the eye!