Tea Bar, the new straight-out-of-Kinfolk teahouse on NE Killingsworth, is a family-grown labor of love that's out to simplify the tea tippling experience.
After falling in love with tea culture while living in China as a teen, owner Erica Indira Swanson got into the family real estate business with the never-ending search for the perfect teahouse space in the back of her mind. A native of Portland's Boise neighborhood, Swanson and her father John renovated the building that would become Tea Bar's home for over two years, perfecting the Euro-meets-Asian aesthetic and before its December 2014 opening. "Since I was on a budget, I designed the interior myself," Swanson proudly admits. "I wanted to create a warm, welcoming environment where the product we served was nurturing, both mentally and physically."
It's no surprise then that the tea menu is as streamlined as the white-walled interior. Swanson explains, "I wanted the menu to be curated in such a way that it was plentiful but not overwhelming. At so many tea places, you walk in and are given a booklet and that can be too much even to the seasoned tea drinker. I focused my efforts more on the idea of quality over quantity and hand selected the teas that seemed to be most well received."
Tea Bar's teas are sourced from small family farms in Uji, Japan and Yiwu, China, kombucha comes from Olympia-based Magic Kombucha, and Swanson and her team blend a few original creations in house, like the London Fog tea (a smooth combination of Earl Grey and organic Lavender).
A tribe of loyal regulars has already formed around the NE Kilingsworth hub, and new visitors will find even more to love in the coming months: Earl Grey mimosas, bubble tea made from a tea concentrate (instead of a processed powder or syrup) in flavors like Jasmine and Hong Kong style with condensed milk, and house-blended and brewed chai, a mix of assam, lapsang, fresh mint, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices. We can't wait.
1615 NE Killingsworth
8 am to 8 pm daily