Even in Seattle, the coffee saturated town that it is, there’s still a case to be made for tea. Coffee—the palate-numbing, strong-tasting beverage—basically comes in one color unless you doctor it up, and lots of buzz… what can I say. In color alone, tea has me hooked. Infinite shades of green, yellow, red and brown, grays and whites. The tint itself is artful. Like an oyster that reflects the taste of the bay it cultivates in, tea is imbued with the flavors of the hillside it sprouts.

At the end of a great meal, what’s better? There’s a choice, to coddle the lingering flavors of beautiful things past… or to ingest a depth charge of bitter, head-spinning coffee? Sadly if you’re indulging every-day addictions to coffee, tea will never live up to the challenge and convert you. Wish I could help. It’s a developed taste that you will not regret.

With a tradition of over 5,000 years, tea was discovered accidentally by a wondrous Chinese emperor, sage, and philosopher when some leaves blew into his pot of boiling water. He claimed its wonder and the rest is history. Tea comes from an evergreen plant known as Camellia sinensis (white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh are the basic kinds).

I love tea. I take great solace in knowing that life’s pleasures can be so simple… a cup of tea being one of them. I ponder my future and how some things may become scarce because of age or dwindling wealth, but yet I know tea will be there for me… phew! So where do I find this passion? Seattle is a growing community of tea drinkers. We’re starting to know our stuff. Starbucks talks tea but they never come through with the goods. Peet’s is trying and succeeding. But the best tea is found through independence… the small supplier who bothers to treat you to the domain of loose-teas. The one who watches over you to be sure you don’t over-steep your cup. Tea is twice as brilliant when drinking with a lover… a tea lover.

I go to Remedy Teas on Capitol Hill. I wish they were in my neighborhood. They don’t see tea from the traditional perspective, more the healthful vantage… The younger set appreciates the non-historical context… no ceremony please. I had a friend who taught me the traditional roots of tea and I can taste history taking my sips, which adds a rich dimension.

The shop is a beautiful haven, chic and cozy… calming surfaces of green and wood tones. The tables support air-blown glass cups and pots… to better see all the vegetal nuances. Be ready for an incredible journey into the realms of tea. Behind the service counter is an entire wall of numbered canisters with over 150 teas to choose from. Oh my gosh are your “tea fears” kicking in, similar to the symptoms of “wine buffoonish”? Don’t sweat it; the tea folks at Remedy Teas are so friendly… they want you to love tea too. They’ll open canister after canister to let you take a sniff to find your perference. The leaves arrive rolled, plucked, smoked, colored from brown to green, swimming with little flowers or twigs, smelling like happiness or a dream. The leaves can have smooth edges or be nibbled by little bugs… but that’s okay because that’s how the “organics” come. The bugs get their share.

There are always three sampling pots brewing near the entrance… the special tea you desire may be one of them. Calm down it’s an inviting world. Pull out a sketchbook… lots of things will come to you. Tea can be social beverage or a meditative moment. I will not tout the health benefits, nor mention global affairs, but they are there, too. Ultimately, the beauty in these cups will chill and dissipate with such inspection.

Go and see for yourself, friends. Or call me and I’ll treat you to a pot. We’ll learn something together.