Restaurant review: Tea Republik

A pour of the jasmine-honey house tea. Photo by Lucas Anderson

Seattle’s a coffee place with coffee-slurping junkies, and coffee seeps from everyone’s pores when they sweat. We all know the stereotype. That’s why, when I heard there was an establishment devoted almost entirely to tea, I got a little overexcited. Don’t get me wrong, coffee is great, blah, blah, blah. But most of the time, I prefer the lighter and less jitter-inducing virtues of tea. Please don’t hang me in the town gallows.

Tea Republik, the new teahouse on the Ave, offers a calming, delicious alternative to all the coffee-dominated cafés in the U-District. Upon walking in, the light is dim but not too dim, the floors are wooden, and the walls are lined with thick stalks of bamboo. There’s a comfy-looking couch, and small tables line the walls. Quiet music plays. It’s just how I imagined a teahouse to be: a sort of Zen refuge from the cigarette-smoke-choked, bustling nature of the Ave.

The tea selection at Tea Republik is extensive: There are five pages worth of plain ol’ loose leaf teas; sweetened house teas; tea with cream; green, black, and white tea; chai; oolong; and even tea laden with fresh fruit like apples, tangerines, and cherries. If you can’t find something, you’re too picky.

I ended up choosing the medium-sized sweetened jasmine-honey tea, and my friend decided to be daring and try the “Sweetest Sin” tea, which was a sort of apple-cinnamon concoction. It took a little while for the tea to be brought to us (about 10 minutes), but when it was, it was the first time I’d been brought tea at the perfect temperature. My jasmine honey had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the apple cinnamon tasted like an interesting liquid form of apple sauce, which is a good thing, I promise. On average, the tea costs $3.49 for a medium pot and $3.99 for a large pot, but there’s no end to the amount of water you can have refilled.

Above all, Tea Republik seems to me like a multi-purpose place: It’d be a somewhat original casual-date idea — think of how quaint you’ll sound asking someone to tea instead of coffee — as well as a low-key, quiet place to study. And if you’re hungry, Tea Republik serves desserts, such as cheesecake and eclaires, for $2.99 and less, with salads and sandwiches forthcoming. Whatever you choose to do, it’s nice to have a place for all the closeted tea freaks in the U-District.

The verdict: A great place for studying and dates, and a pleasant alternative to the coffee-dominated culture of Seattle.

Reach Copy Chief Kristen Steenbeeke at arts@dailyuw.com.

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