Is Boulder tea obsessed? Whether it’s earthy oolong, healthful herbal, or perfumed-to-perfection Earl Gray, it’s safe to say we do love a calming cup of tea.
In fact, Boulder was recently called The Republic of Tea by EnCompass magazine.
If you love tea, you’ll be in heaven at Celestial Seasonings, the maker of the famous Sleepytime tea and dozens of others. Go behind the scenes to see how teas are blended, packaged and shipped. You’ll walk on the factory floor, hear the machinery, watch the conveyor belts and learn about the origins of the herbs and tea leaves. Notable perks to the free, 45-minute tour include a peek into the famously invigorating mint room, free samples of old and new favorites and an art gallery of the distinctive tea-box art. Celestial Seasonings was named one of the country's best food factory tours by USA TODAY's Readers' Choice! Tours begin every hour Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.
Currently, tours and the gift shop are closed due to Covid-19.
Unless you've been to Tajikistan, you've probably never seen a teahouse like this one. Handcrafted by artisans in Boulder's sister city of Dushanbe, the teahouse was shipped piece-by-piece from the Tajikistan city and assembled in Boulder. It is an inviting and peaceful place to enjoy one of nearly 100 types of teas and to nosh on locally sourced yet worldly cuisine — all while taking in the vibrant carvings and paintings that cover every inch of the interior. In the warmer months, nab a seat on the patio, surrounded by flourishing, fragrant rose bushes.
This Chinese teahouse on Pearl Street might look like just a retail shop from the outside, but inside is also a peaceful spot to sit and sip. The owners source their loose-leaf tea from family-owned farms during trips to southwest China, taking part in the harvesting and learning about the processing techniques along the way. In addition to numerous varieties of Chinese tea, Ku Cha House of Tea also offers teas from around the world, such as chai from India and Yerba Mate from South America. Customers can also create their own tea blends at Ku Cha’s tea bar. Want to become a true tea connoisseur? Check out the shop’s website for a calendar of tea tastings and classes.
Founder and owner Paul Cattin opened his first Pekoe Sip House in Boulder in 2003, explaining that he “wanted to create the kind of lifestyle that existed in the coffee shop industry using tea and making tea fun.” Now with three locations in boulder, tea remains the main attraction, from house-brewed chai to matcha lattes to boba (or bubble) teas made with tapioca pearls; but you can also find sipping chocolates, baked goods (including gluten-free treats), sandwiches, and, yes, a good old cup of joe. Cattin travels the globe to source the best tea and coffee from places like India and Brazil.
If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional tea and pastry combo, this is the place. The unassuming storefront on Arapahoe Avenue opens into a serene sanctuary, and the menu features healing teas paired with natural and organic Korean food with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. A Cup of Peace owner Ki Kim uses ancient Korean traditions, ingredients and recipes to craft health-focused teas for ailments ranging from indigestion to insomnia. Need a boost? Try Kim’s signature Organic Multi Grain Energy Shake, or order a steaming cup of local favorite Bhakti Chai.
This oxygen bar on 10th Street also serves raw foods and desserts, organic wine and sake, herbal elixirs, and of course, tea. If you like Kombucha, make sure to try the Jun elixir, a fermented tea drink brewed with green tea and honey that purportedly delivers a myriad of health benefits, from aiding digestion to detoxifying the blood. While you’re sipping, try an essential oil-scented oxygen session.
It's a little-known fact about Trident, a longtime favorite bookstore and coffee shop, that they have an extensive tea program, too. Their selection includes black, green, white, Pu'er and herbal teas imported directly from farmers in India, China and Taiwan. With an excellent collection of books for sale and a low-key vibe, this is an ideal place to settle in with a steaming cup of your favorite tea to read or write in your journal.
Make like the Queen and treat yourself to high tea at these Boulder eateries:
St Julien Hotel & Spa: Saturdays at 2pm. Holiday Gingerbread Tea Saturdays and Sundays in late November and December; call 720-406-8208 for reservations.
Chautauqua Dining Hall: Daily from 2–4pm from late November to early January; call 303-440-3776 for reservations.
Leaf: Saturdays from 3–5pm; call 303-442-1485 for reservations.
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse: Daily from 3–5pm; call 303-442-4993 for reservations.