Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Time For Tea

Yesterday I went with my mom and some of her friends to a little tea house in downtown Albany - The Ivy Garden Tea Room. The atmosphere was pleasant and the prices were more reasonable than I expected. We had the high tea (they call it the Fancy Tea) which was $16.50 and our friends had some of the other tea options which were a little less depending on what they came with.

The woman who runs the Ivy Garden runs it all on her own out of what seemed to be a small kitchen in the back, though I only caught a small glimpse. I was pretty impressed. I have to give her five stars for her hard work and passion. However, even thought the prices were a little more reasonable, my mom and I felt the portions were still a little small. The food was decent - I’d give it 3 out of 5. The scones with lemon curd and the mini quiche’s were definitely my favorites.

The team room also offered a variety of sandwiches, salads and tea by the pot. So there was a little something for everyone. They even have a children’s tea option for $5.50. I think I will try a few other tea houses before I venture back to this one, but if you live in the area I would recommend atleast trying it out and supporting a local business. Just be prepared for smaller portions. You can also call in advance to see what items are on the tea menu for the day/week as well. The tea house also offers a moderate sized tea selection (at least 25 different options) which you can purchase by the ounce. I bought some Key Largo which is a fruity rooibos tea with mango and rose petals and Paradise Green tea with red currants and rhubarb. They are both lighter teas, full of flavor and very aromatic.

The Ivy Garden Tea Room is the only tea house that I am aware of in the Salem and surrounding area, though there could defeintly be some i'm missing. It seems in the current economy, many of the other local one’s have shut down. Otherwise there are several in the Portland area, one in Astoria, Ashland and a few other areas throughout Oregon.

If you want to find a tea house near you, check out this site. They will have a listing of most of the one’s currently open:

If you are ever in the Seattle Area, you should check out my favorite tea room - Queen Mary’s Team Room. It is more spendy (31.00 for afternoon tea), but well worth it. The menu changes frequently and the food is amazing. Their website is: You can also purchase their teas online. They have an amazing selection, with seasonal selections as well. My favorites are the Creamy Earl Grey and the Strawberry Pepper. You can also check out the menu and their other merchandise.

Some good tea brands and places to purchase tea:
Harney and Son’s and the Republic of Tea (for higher quality and loose leaf), but if you’re just wanting a simple herbal tea, Celestial Seasonings has a nice variety. Tazo and Yogi tea also have some good ones. Teavana is a specific tea store with an amazing selection including seasonal teas. There are also a plethora of tea dealers online. Simply type in tea for purchase or tea for sale online and you will find a bunch. Also check out your local coffee houses; many of them also carry tea by the ounce or bag.

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