With fog lingering in the air, and Halloween just around the corner, what better time than the present to stop by Capitol Hill’s Remedy Teas, which is styled like a trendy science lab? Upon entering, you’ll find five rows of good-sized white canisters, numbered from 1 to 150 in black print behind the counter, which contain the cafe’s selection of organic loose-leaf teas (which can be brewed by teapot, to go, iced or purchased in bulk). To the right, along one of the store’s walls, you will find a long row of test tubes (each also numbered) that provides customers with the opportunity to smell and see each tea up close.
In keeping with the apothecary feel, there are flasks scattered around the store filled with flowers and various potions. There is plenty of seating as well, with white ottomans, several wood tables and a bar area. Anthony, one of the store’s owners, said the design was inspired by the desire to create a shop that combined the elements of a traditional cafe and tea store where “the focus is on the tea and the customer.”
However, the store’s menus are not to be outdone by its design — there is not one, but two menus! One menu is dedicated entirely to the store’s tea selection and includes a detailed description of each tea’s ingredients and flavors. With too many tantalizing teas to try in one visit (yes, I will be going back!), my mouth was watering from just looking at the menu. The second menu is the food and mixed drink menu, featuring tea smoothies, tea lattes, tea sandwiches, soups, salads and even full tea services if you want to partake in “high tea.”
After pouring over the menu, I selected a teapot of a flavored white tea blend called the “Blue Hawaii,” which is described as, “A sinfully good blend of white teas, coconut, natural essences, vanilla pieces and blue cornflowers. It’s aloha in your cup.” Prior to my visit, Anthony had mentioned that one of the store’s most popular foods was the Apple Pie tea sandwich. The Cucumber Classic tea sandwich also caught my eye, so I decided to round out my order with half of a unique apple sandwich, and half of a more traditional cucumber one.
My order arrived in a cute personal glass teapot that was kept warm by a tea light candle, a pre-set timer for my tea (which flashed when the tea was done steeping), a metal holder for the tea filter and a Bodum double wall glass. This glass also happens to be one of my favorite tea cups at work since it allows me to make my tea as hot as I want without burning my fingers. It also keeps my tea hotter, longer, because of its double-walled insulation.
The tea produced a light yellow liquor that smelled and tasted heavenly, like vanilla and coconut. Both the sandwiches were tasty as well. The Apple Pie sandwich (apple butter, melted cheddar cheese and butter spread served on cinnamon bread dusted with cinnamon) was sweet and slightly salty, while the Cucumber Classic sandwich (cucumbers, chive cream cheese and butter spread on whole grain bread garnished with chives) was zesty and creamy. As Anthony had mentioned, you really can’t go wrong with the food here and it’s no wonder all the teas are popular.
It is clear that Anthony and Andrea (Anthony’s partner at Remedy Teas) truly love their tea and want to share that passion and knowledge with their customers. Anthony explained that the first teas he ever drank were “terrible bagged black tea, poorly prepared and over-brewed. Hence, one of the reasons we created Remedy Teas. [We wanted to provide people with] excellent organic loose leaf teas of every kind, [that are] well prepared, good for you and tasty.”
This November will mark the seventh year the café has been in business, and based on how busy the store was when I visited, they certainly have met Anthony’s goal of “tak[ing] the fussy out of tea and present[ing] tea to [people] in a modern approachable way.” While I was in their shop, Andrea came over with a huge smile and pointed out a toddler who had tried and enjoyed her first cup of tea (which was very cute). According to Andrea, moments like this one, where she gets to interact with the happy, creative and fun clientele of Capitol Hill, are the best part of running the store.
Anthony and Andrea have created the perfect venue to escape the standard black teas and try a variety of healthful teas. Anthony says he now “prefer[s] a fine Japanese green tea, but every member of the team tends to drink different teas throughout the day depending on whatever [they’re] craving; traditional tea or something non-traditional, caffeinated or non caffeinated, something to settle your tummy or help you sleep, something spicy or floral, something calming or energizing — it’s tea time all the time honestly.”