If you are a tea purist, especially of a particular region, Dobra is a godsend. If you have an opinion on whether pu'er tea is better as sheng or shou, which flush of Darjeeling is best, and so on, this is your spot. Matte is served in a gourd any Uruguayan would have on their shelf, and has a great bitter veggie flavor. The Turkish Cay tea is spot-on, from the curve of the glass cup to the precise depth of flavor. A Chinese blend with lapsang souchong was served in a handsome lantern pot. The tea was mostly unadorned by mellower notes, and the smokiness of the leaves pushed the flavor in the direction of a good cigar. A "Kashmir blend" of green, black, and oolong teas had a striking orange-yellow color. Hints of clove and cinnamon were subtle enough that you could taste the complexities of the blend. Snacks are quite good, with savory plates running Middle Eastern, and some good in-house sweets.

Tea has not always been calming. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony was a tenser affair than the Candy Crowley debate. But Portland has lucked into two very good teahouses, which soothe in very different ways: Dobra bringing international ritual to Maine, and Homegrown's one-of-a-kind spirit very much living up to its name.

DOBRA TEA | 151 Middle St, Portland | Mon-Wed 11 am-9 pm, Thurs-Sun 11 am-10 pm | 207.210.6566 |dobrateame.com

HOMEGROWN HERB AND TEA | 195 Congress St, Portland | Tues-Fri noon-7 pm, Sat noon-5 pm | 207.774.3484 | homegrownherbandtea.com

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRIAN DUFF
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE QUAY TO GOOD LIVING  |  July 11, 2014
    Though they offer an appealing moral clarity, in practice zero tolerance policies have ruined any number of urban schools, fragile marriages, and card-marred soccer games. Zero tolerance almost ruined Portland a few years back, too.
  •   BITING INTO THE FANTASY  |  July 10, 2014
    Is it a sign of the shallowness of our national culture that we have spent half a decade excited by the idea of food served from trucks? Sure. But is it a symptom of some deeper condition? I suspect so. This summer offers a chance to investigate thanks to the arrival of a critical mass of food trucks around Portland, along with the film Chef, about a restaurant chef who starts a food truck.  
  •   A RAIL-CAR PALACE IN BIDDEFORD  |  June 11, 2014
    The barrel roofed train-car looks incredibly good given it’s nearly a century old.
  •   FINDING BALANCE IN BRISKET  |  June 06, 2014
    Salvage might suggest a plausible strategy to...salvage the distinctive experience of casual dining in Maine.
  •   THREE TIMES LUCKY  |  May 16, 2014
    Miyake’s new diner reclaims the location of his original restaurant, the wonderful Food Factory. 

 See all articles by: BRIAN DUFF