Destination Tea: Teaism Penn Quarter

Update: Teaism locations no longer offer afternoon tea service, but still have scones, teas and yummy foods on the menu if you’d like to create a DIY afternoon tea.

Where:  Washington, D.C.
Style:  Asian
Tea Selection:  20+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Daily, 2:30 to 5
Reservations:  Walk-ins welcome
Contact:  202-638-6010
Cost:  $25 Indian Afternoon Tea; $25 Japanese Afternoon Tea; $25 Moroccan Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips: Come hungry for this hot meal. Select a table in the spacious lower level for teatime by the indoor koi pond. And consider going with at least two friends to give you an excuse to sample all three menus.

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our DC afternoon tea directory for the latest details.

exterior Teaism Penn Quarter

Destination Tea Notes: At Teaism Penn Quarter (one of three sister locations around DC), we step outside the British-style afternoon tea box and (for the first time) step up to a counter to pick up our afternoon tea trays. We love the way Teaism combines a casual, non-fussy vibe with a serious foodie dedication to their totally homemade, international afternoon tea menus. We order an Indian and Japanese afternoon tea, select our teas, go to our table, wait less than ten minutes, and tadum! Our full order is up. It feels like being called up to receive a prize, “show them what they’ve won…” and the kids’ eyes grow large with awe as they discover the treats on each tray. Here’s another great choice for groups of women and men, who will definitely walk away sated by these generously portioned meals, which require fork and knife. After falling in love with our tasty teas, we decide a visit is in order to Teaism’s tea shop next door, where the staff is some of the most knowledgeable we’ve yet to experience. They expertly guide us to three teas new to us, while our 9-year-old reviewer already knows she wants to use her spending money for her own bag of Teaism’s Organic Chai (#raisingtealovers). We recommend any adventurous DC tea tour include stops to Teaism’s restaurant — for its multinational cuisine — and tea shop — to broaden your tea palate.

interior Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
Ordering at the counter
downstairs seating and koi pond at Teaism Penn Quarter
Lower level koi pond and plenty of seating
afternoon tea menus at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
We choose the Japanese and Indian afternoon tea menus.

Tea Service

tea selection at Teaism Penn Quarter
The uninitiated will appreciate that Teaism recommends a paired tea selection with each afternoon tea menu.
teapots at Teaism Peann Quarter
The Gen Mai Cha comes with the Japanese tea menu, and naturally the Chai goes with the Indian tea menu. At first, the sweetened Chai is the girls’ favorite, until they realize the Gen Mai Cha is that green tea blended with toasted rice that they love.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Order is up at afternoon tea at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
Incredible how fast these meals are ready
tea order at afternoon tea at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
Admittedly, we got a bit greedy adding two orders of bubble tea.

Indian Afternoon Tea

Savories of Indian afternoon tea at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
The flavors! South Indian Vegetable Curry served over rice, carrots with orange fennel vinaigrette, and a veg kabob that features charred fresh peppers, mushrooms, radishes and purple cabbage.
scones and tea cakes at the Indian Afternoon Tea at Teaism Penn Quarter
A large ginger scone with a patty of jam is excellent, and for dessert there’s coconut rice pudding and in place of the listed cocoa nib shortbread, buttery Hungarian tea cakes.

Japanese Afternoon Tea

Japanese afternoon tea at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
Pretty blue stoneware
Savories at Japanese Afternoon Tea at Teaism Penn Quarter.
Savory grilled shrimp kabob with cucumbers in tare sauce and layered rice cake with pickled ginger.
Dessert of the Japanese afternoon tea at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC
With the Japanese menu, you may have to start with dessert (before your green tea gelato melts). It also includes a large mochi — Japanese dessert made of sweet rice flour filled with sweet red bean paste and coated in toasted sesame seeds — and appearing again in place of the cocoa nib shortbread, more yummy Hungarian tea cakes.
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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