Teahouses are special and can be found all over the world. Depending where you are, the local teahouses will have their own cultural (or multi-cultural) expression. Across the variety of teahouses, guests enjoy hospitality from the host and the host receives special acknowledgement from the guests as well, making each visit a collaborative experience.
Serving and receiving tea is an art form—from the décor and implements used for brewing, to the conversation enjoyed with teahouse staff and other patrons, to the sometimes ornate or even performative presentation given by the tea server. The tea leaves themselves, often crafted by artisanal teamakers, are also a work of art, as is the process of searching for the precise description of flavors, aromas and sensations experienced through the tea.
Though they may vary widely, teahouses seem to be places where individuals can be both social and self-reflective, where all senses are heightened by the slow enjoyment of tea, often accompanied by gentle music and the beauty of the environment. They offer respite from a busy day in the city and a peaceful place to connect with others.
The Tao of Tea opened its first teahouse in 1997. Founder Veerinder S. Chawla’s vision was to serve as a connecting thread for tea culture and help highlight this generational art form here in the Portland area. The Tao of Tea has two teahouses—one inside of the Lan Su Chinese Garden with a special emphasis on Chinese and Taiwanese teas and brewing styles; and the original teahouse on Southeast Belmont Street that features teas from around the world including chai, matcha, yerba mate and more. Both locations offer light food, comfortable ambiance and warm hospitality.