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Decent teahouses in Boston

Martin Owens asks:

There are no good tea shops in Boston any more. Since Tealux closed down, we've been limping by on bobatea and coffee and it's just not the same.

Anyone know of anything?

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Comments

Tardisgrl replies:

You can get a fabulous high tea at Fancy That, but you need to go to Walpole. And make reservations since they are only open selectively

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Trident has an extensive tea menu.

Tatte also has a decent selection, and they are everywhere if you're on the go.

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I'm a coffee drinker but my tea drinking colleagues recommend the Sipping Room in Fenway.

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Boston public library's tea room is pretty good. Four seasons also for ever now. Then again, aside from special occasions, why would one need anything other than Barry's.

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In addition to their wonderful hot chocolate, you can get pots of tea at Burdick’s in the Back Bay.

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I gave up on getting tea at the Burdick's near Harvard Square after a few disappointing experiences: the water was never hot enough for the tea to brew properly. A friend who lives a few blocks away had the same experience, so it's not just one incompetent staffer who I was unfortunate enough to get three times.

Burdick's makes really good hot chocolate, and some excellent cakes, but not tea. If I need caffeine in that part of town, I now go to the Flour bakery on Mt. Auburn Street. It's not a teahouse, but they make some good sandwiches and pastries.

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Seriously, I'm the biggest (expletive) ever for going only once in 19 years in Boston. I donated some old magazines once, but I never really visited.

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Not OP, but their cafe (near the Boylston Street entrance) is really very nice.

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Silver Dove between government center and park st. Had a lovely tea there yesterday.

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28 Tremont St

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Beacon Hill Books & Cafe

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Had a lovely pot of camomile there one afternoon when it was too late for coffee. Seating is hit or miss, but that was true at tealuxe too.

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Try kitchen stove with fresh grated ginger root, lemon peel and pulp, and water. Strain and feel the heal. Try kitchen stove with other herbs mint, chamomile, lemon.

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...if you didn't want actual tea. Like, made from the steeped leaves of a tea bush. And if you didn't want to do this in the company of other human beings, and definitely didn't want to perhaps have a nice scone or something that you didn't have to bake yourself.

(I do plenty of "teas" like this myself, but I'm pretty sure it's not what OP was asking for)

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I really do miss Tealuxe , it was my haven. I don't even like hot liquids... But they brewed iced tea that was just phenomenal. When I say iced tea people often think Lipton and I laugh, then they think just putting ice cubes into any cup of cheap tea and I laugh. At Tealuxe it was a science. Especially in the summer when they would rotate flavors and have it ready to go. It's how I started my day and if it was really hot outside I'd have one mid day too.

I used to work above the one in Harvard Square and it was my morning routine. I could feel the stress melt off as I walked into the space. The atmosphere, the other customers, the staff. I don't know what it was but they seemed to have a genuinely friendly staff ALL the time , but not in that fake plastic sort of way, just pleasant people. When I ran for and won city council in Chelsea I walked into the shop (three towns over mind you) and they made sure my favorite tea was on tap (Golden Monkey) and they not only renamed it in my honor for the day (Councilor Matt's Golden Monkey Iced Tea) but they also had drew a sign for it that they gave me at the end of the day. I was so exhausted and when I walked in and saw it I was speechless, I of course had to get one and come back after lunch and got a second one haha. To me it felt like it changed depending on who walked in the door. It was either a place tourists wandered into because it looked interesting or a neighborhood joint where everyone knew each other and it would shift seamlessly.

As hard as it is to find good tea, finding places that take the iced variety seriously seems even more futile. Oddly enough Starbucks is the best I've had since then as most indie coffee places will just brew tea and throw some ice cubes in and charge you five bucks. Store bought stuff is like the difference between Sunny Delight and fresh orange juice, they are both orange and sweet but Sunny D you ain't fooling anybody.

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Good iced tea is really, really hard to find. You need a place that knows how to brew it right, and also throws it out when it's been around for a while. Even the best tea will get muddy if it gets some age on it. There are a lot of places that do an okay job of brewing it, but they don't sell much, so it just sits forever and gets nasty.

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That's the problem with the iced stuff. The best flavor comes from a strong brew with quality ingredients that gets watered down as you ice it. So it needs to start very strong. Yet as you said you can't leave it sitting around all day though. The reason why it works well (just not the same flavor as I enjoy) at Starbucks is that most locations are very good at monitoring the age of the prebrewed mix. I've even seen them dump out containers when the time elapsed.

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On Mass Ave between Central and Harvard in Cambridge is a nice little spot.

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Not a tea house strictly speaking, but the VU in JP, in addition to being the last place you can find obscure movies, has a great tea selection (and they brew it right, not just sticking the tea bag in water that's the wrong temperature and leaving you to fish it out so your tea doesn't oversteep.)

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...at Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop, on Westland Ave near Mass Ave.

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This is no London, mate.

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Have teahouses but I haven’t been to them. I think it’s called The Vintage Tea and Cake Co. looks like a British-style afternoon tea. Supposedly The Newbury hotel also serves high tea as the Ritz (and maybe Taj) did before it, but I don’t know when or where exactly.

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