The best tea houses and teas around the world.
As evidenced by the photo above, I mastered the art of tea parties at a young age. So it’s no surprise that I seek out tea experiences in my travels. Here are some of the best teas and tea-sipping experiences I’ve encountered.
La Cabaña Casa de té – Ushuaia, Argentina. Everything in Ushuaia includes the suffix “at the end of the world” – the golf course at the end of the world, the train at the end of the world, the toilets at the end of the world (not kidding). That makes this slogan-free tea house all the more special. It sits at the top of the road from town going up the mountain. It’s the perfect place to stop on your way to Marital Glacier. Its shabby-chic interior nestled in the trees was the perfect, cozy spot for some tea, especially during the chilly, damp, cloudy parts of the day. Despite the weather we still had views of the Beagle Channel.
Yerba Mate tea in Argentina – Whether you order it at la Cabaña or anywhere else, mate tea is what all the cool kids in Argentina are drinking. It’s exceptionally caffeinated and bitter, and I highly suggest drinking it with sweetener even if that’s typically not your thing. The most unique part about mate is the way you drink it, sipped through a straw from a hallowed out gourd. The straw filters out the loose tea leaves.
Red roibos tea in South Africa – Nothing particularly exotic about this tea, it’s just well known in South Africa. I brewed some in my hotel my first morning in Cape Town, watching vendors set up in the square outside our hotel.
Lake Agnes Tea House – Banff National Park, Canada. You gotta work for this one. If you can pull yourself away from the glacier-blue waters of Lake Louise, hike up about 2 miles and 1,312 ft in elevation gain to this glorious tea house. It’s uphill, but simply an incline and not too rocky so a slow and steady pace will get you there. My group ordered tea and scones and sat outside with views of Lake Agnes.
Masala Chai Tea in Varanasi, India. Chai tea is delicious, any time, any place. But there’s something magical about sipping chai along the banks of the Ganges River. I did this twice. Once at dusk – emerging from the congested, bustling streets of Varanasi to an expansive view of the river. Plenty of vendors sell the tea in hand-made clay cups for a few rupees. Tune out the madness and embrace the warmth of the tea, the spicy scent, the rough feel of the clay as you stand perched atop the set of steps leading the lifeblood of the country. In the morning, we sipped tea while watching domestic early-morning activities along the Ganges like bathing and laundry, the water remarkably still following a night of boisterous activities.
Mint Tea in Jemma el Fna Square, Marrakech, Morocco. The centerpiece of Marrakech, this square is a spectacle of quirky characters, shops, snake charmers, and lots of tourists. Those who love to be in the thick of chaos will revel in its energy. For me, I preferred to observe from a distance. Plenty of cafes surround the square, so pick one, climb the steps to the top, grab a table at the edge, order some mint tea, and take it all in from a relaxing viewpoint. The views are not only over the square but across the city are a welcome site following an afternoon in the maze of the souk.
Now it’s your turn to spill some tea – what are your favorites?