Ballard – once a quiet Scandinavian fishing-and-timber community, this Seattle neighborhood has seen a lot of change in the last few years, but still manages to maintain much of its small-town feel. In addition to continuing to sustain much of Seattle’s fishing industry, Ballard is now home to a myriad of specialty boutiques, popular bars and restaurants, and, of course, coffee shops. Nestled in among all of these attractions lies Miro Tea, a comfortable and welcoming tea house in a contemporary setting.
Inside, Miro Tea feels very much like many of Seattle’s coffee shops. The owner has gone to great trouble to make it as inviting as possible by beautifully balancing a clean-lined abundance of stainless steel and glass with polished driftwood countertops. It’s an inviting environment in which to study, read, write, or hold a conversation. One element that I particularly enjoyed was the tasting table at the far end of the shop. In addition to their normal guided tastings, the staff prepares a selection of teas, which are freely available for sampling throughout the day. One thing that you will not find here: an espresso machine. Despite its coffee shop-like appearance, Miro Tea is devoted strictly to the leaf and features nearly 150 varieties of tea and tea blends.
My tea arrived in a glass teapot atop a chafing dish to keep it warm, along with a double-walled glass cup. You won’t find any fine china or tea cozies here. The tea ware has the same overall streamlined look as the rest of the shop. I really enjoyed the glass serving ware as it allows a greater appreciation of the tea’s liqueur. The tea that I selected – Goldenlilly – had a nice pale yellow hue to it.
The tea itself was very good. Goldenlilly is a easy-drinking, everyday oolong that is good for several steepings without breaking the bank. A green, ball-type oolong, it has definite grassy and faint floral notes along with some natural sweetness. The tea has a nice texture as well. Think “thin honey” when you try it. I also sampled the Coconut Vanilla Black, which is very smooth and well balanced to boot.
Overall, Miro Tea gets a gold star in my book. I will definitely be back for more in the future and look forward to trying more of the many varieties. The Lemon Blossom Oolong, in particular, looks intriguing. I’ve found a great spot to stop at the next time I’m in Ballard, when I’ll be sure to try one of their crepes or sandwiches, too.