: James Florio/ Portland Japanese Garden

Where to Find a Great Cup of Tea in Portland

Relax with herbal infusions or a traditional afternoon service in the Rose City.
April 8, 2024

In a city where the coffee wins raves, one might not expect such a vibrant tea culture, too, but Portland serves up a great cup of this soothing beverage in some pretty unique places. Even the most avid tea drinkers will find something new here thanks to the endless varieties — from bold Ceylon black to floral herbal blends — that invite you to sip and savor the moment. Here are some ways to enjoy the art of tea through a range of experiences, including traditional service, community events and some quirky cafes. Don’t forget to take home some loose-leaf tea to re-create the magic.

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Close up overhead of three glasses of iced tea.
Courtesy of Alan Weiner Photography

Sample Unique Brews at Portland’s Teahouses

Renowned worldwide, Smith Teamaker is a Portland favorite for small-batch teas, including seasonal concoctions and flights with snack pairings. Visit the Northwest and Southeast Portland tasting rooms to try a cup of a delicate blend like Jasmine Nectar — green tea infused with cardamom, ginger, rose and nectarine. On warmer days, stay cool with iced teas, like the beautiful sapphire-colored blackberry jasmine lemonade or the hibiscus mango infusion.

At Portal Tea Company, find a wide range of loose-leaf teas, as well as boba tea (Taiwanese milk tea with tapioca pearls) and Happy Mountain Kombucha, which is brewed with the company’s tea. Get cozy with a book and a pot of osmanthus oolong in the bright-red caboose at the Sellwood shop, or catch up with friends over an iced yerba mate at the Slabtown location. Perfect for a picnic in the park, the canned, nitrogen-infused iced tea bursts with ripe-fruit flavors.

The Tao of Tea is a Belmont neighborhood mainstay, offering over 200 tea varieties. If you’re new to tea, friendly staff can guide you through flavor profiles and steeping times. The fully vegetarian food menu has plenty of tasty pairings: Try the 500 Mile Chai blend with samosas and tamarind chutney or the Ali Shan oolong with Portland-based Ota tofu adorned with Szechuan black-bean sauce.

Portland’s tea culture is linked to our cherished gardens and museums, too. After strolling through Lan Su Chinese Garden, stop by the tranquil teahouse for an afternoon pick-me-up. A trip to Portland Japanese Garden is not complete without a matcha set and Japanese sweets at Umami Café — the stunning glass-walled teahouse hovering over the hillside. Visit the aptly named Behind the Museum Café for a hojicha (Japanese roasted green tea) latte after visiting the Portland Art Museum.

Finger sandwiches and small pastries at a tea shop
Courtesy of Emperor Georgiou's Tea Room

Experience Classic and Not-So-Traditional Afternoon Tea Service

Abigail Hall, the lavish tea parlor inside Woodlark Hotel in downtown Portland, serves vintage teapots of Smith Teamaker loose-leaf teas, sweet and savory pastries, and tea-themed cocktails. Old Town’s stylish tea and fashion boutique Barnes & Morgan is the place to enjoy a cuppa while browsing bespoke garments and accessories designed by owner Amir Morgan, who may very well be sporting one of his signature hats.

“Star Trek”-themed Emperor Georgiou’s Tea Room in northeast Portland entices just as many Trekkies as tea lovers to its retro-futuristic space. Choose from bottomless pots of teas like apricot-scented black tea or white tea with dried peach to go with vegan crumpets and sandwiches. Owners Wellington and Brendon Georgiou embraced the “Star Trek” theme as the TV show’s core values of diversity and inclusion reflect the kind of space they wish to create.

Just a short distance west of Portland in Hillsboro, Mamancy Tea & Chocolate pairs aromatic Kenyan teas with collard-greens fritters and African rooibos-infused chocolate cake. Book a reservation at Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium in Beaverton for a Steampunk-themed tea adventure, complete with antique clocks and a 30-foot airship floating above the Victorian-style tea room. At Doja Tea Lounge in Tualatin, pots of tea arrive with towers of cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam.

Rustic tea kettle and tea cups lined up in a traditional Buddhist style.
Courtesy of Bardo Tea

Connect With Fellow Tea Lovers Over a Cup

Tea enthusiasts won’t want to miss TeaFestPDX in July, Portland’s annual tea festival since 2017, where the city’s biggest names in the industry gather at World Forestry Center. Spend the day sipping different varieties, attending classes and shopping for handcrafted teaware. You may even score something special at the vintage-teaware booth. When you’re hungry, treats like Camellia Pistrina Earl Grey chocolate cakes and matcha madeleines await.

For a more intimate experience, drop by Taiji Teahouse & Cafe in Old Town Chinatown for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony followed by a tai chi meditative movement session. On North Killingsworth, Bardo Tea calms the body and mind with a weekly silent tea ceremony meditation in an airy modern setting. Inside Fly Awake Tea House, tucked into an alley in North Portland, you’ll feel like you’re hanging out in a friend’s garage. There, you can try a flight of oolong and pu-erh teas over a tarot reading.

In Southeast Portland, Enthea Teahouse is located in a charming house with a bamboo garden. You won’t want to miss the SpeakTeasy evenings, which offer a different conversation topic over sips of delicious blends. During movie nights, enjoy a Chinese tea service accompanied by tea pets (clay animal figurines) and community.

About The
Author

Waz Wu
Waz Wu is a food writer, content creator and event producer living in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys exploring restaurants, vegan cooking, gardening and cuddling her two cats Chloe and Lexi.

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