DCD: Tea time at teaism

Originally Published 08/27/01

Teaism restaurant
800 Connecticut Ave.
August 24, 2001
12:05 p.m.

Hungry and thirsty on the Friday before school starts, I picked the wrong time to buy textbooks from the GW Bookstore.

I knew I could not contain my hunger waiting in a line that wrapped down the stairs. I needed to go to lunch.

I remembered my friend had ranted and raved about the tea and food at Teaism, a restaurant that specializes in hot tea, knowing that I am in the running for the biggest tea drinker award and absolutely detest coffee.

A tea place? Three of them in D.C.? It seemed like my prayers were answered. Listening to my rumbling and growling stomach, I made my way to the restaurant with my book in tow.

Although Teaism is located around the corner from the 17th Street Farragut West Metro stop on the Blue and Orange lines, it was a beautiful day and I decided to save my money and take the 10-minute walk.

When I arrived there was a fairly short line along the counter to order food from before making the most important decision – which tea to have.

I was expecting a Starbucks-like array of signs and flashy billboards, but all I got was a simple menu on a piece of yellow paper. The simplicity of the place complimented the traditional relaxing atmosphere that comes with tea.

The menu was decently priced, with plates ranging from $6.50 to $10. The food was also surprisingly different with a Japanese twist in each dish. Although the restaurant serves plates such as an organic ostrich burger and grilled duck breast, I was not in the mood for an adventurous lunch and stuck with a smoked turkey sandwich.

With the food selection out of the way, I continued on to another tough decision staring at a long list of tea choices.

There were so many choices my mind seemed to overload. I could not make a split-second decision between all the black, white, green, chai, Oolong teas and tisanes. Trying to make a quick decision, I picked the first green tea on the list, the Dragon Well.

Although I was not very impressed by the size of the place or the bland atmosphere, it started to get very busy and the line almost went out the door by the time I took my seat.

I sat down and anxiously waited for my tea and food, which was served soon after. The sandwich was a pretty hefty portion, and the 16-ounce pot of tea mesmerized me. I was not expecting that much tea for only $3.

Being my normal clumsy self, I spilled tea everywhere while trying to pour it out. Luckily nobody saw my slip-up and I was able to clean it up without making a fool of myself.

I then took a bite of my sandwich and my tongue started to burn as the spice of the wasabi mayonnaise spread rushed through my nose, causing my eyes to water. I had forgotten to read the fine print on the menu that says what comes on the sandwich.

I peered into the pot to see how much was left and there was still enough for another two cups. Although tempted, I decided I should head off to the bookstore to check if the line was any shorter than it was 30 minutes ago.

This branch of Teaism is open between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays only, which makes it a good place to come for an early afternoon break in the middle of the week.

The other two branches located at Penn Quarter and Dupont Circle are much bigger and stay open throughout the evening and on weekends.

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