Trendy Venice, California is often known for pushing the cultural envelope. It is packed with cutting-edge restaurants and boutiques, not to mention Irish pubs that were teeming with St. Patrick’s Day revelers this past Saturday when we cruised along Main Street in search of its newest addition – Gunpowder, which characterizes itself as “tea lab/bakery/hangout/workspace.” For those in the know, Gunpowder is not just some random name Owner Mike Franzini pulled out of a hat. Gunpowder is one of China’s premier green teas from Zhejiang Province.
With a hip, modern interior that delivers a bold, high-tech vibe without skimping on coziness, Gunpowder is the perfect spot for relaxing with friends or getting some serious work done. Perhaps the first 24-7 tea spot, Gunpowder is clearly designed to cater to its target demographic – the twenty- and thirty-somethings who live and work in the neighborhood. Yet even those of us outside that demographic can find plenty to love about this place.
What Gunpowder lacks in variety, it more than makes up for in innovation and quality. Jeremy Johnson, Gunpowder’s “taste maker,” has assembled a handful of blends, both with and without true tea, that are flavorful and intriguing. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to savor one on site, you can take a vial to go. And, if you are lacking an essential tea accessory, Gunpowder offers a curated selection.
Their signature drink – Gunshot – is a tisane latte made from roasted chicory, cacao, dandelion, and guayusa whipped up with coconut or almond milk. It is a yummy concoction that will appeal to coffee and tea lovers alike. Besides Gunshot, we sampled a black tea-based blend that features hibiscus and peppercorns. To Gunpowder’s credit, I hardly noticed the hibiscus and really enjoyed the spicy aftertaste.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the impressive line of iced teas to choose from, all infused with fresh fruit, as well as the delicious selection of baked goods, all gluten-free. A tea/baked good combo is a great deal at just five bucks! I have many reasons for a return visit.
Images courtesy of the contributor.