This is not a post about the piggy bank raiding event that is high tea or afternoon tea. This is about a moment, you might


Top Five Places for Tea Drinking

This is not a post about the piggy bank raiding event that is high tea or afternoon tea. This is about a moment, you might call it an International Foods Coffee moment, only with tea. Good tea experiences are hard to find in this city. Whether it's the audacity of a pre-bought tea bag or the lack of a teapot causing said bag to be dropped into a small cup not quit filled with hot water yet still costing you $2.00, the serving of tea in this coffee obsessed city rarely rises above mediocrity.

These five places excel, each for their very own special reason.

5. Miro Tea, 5405 Ballard Ave. N.W., 782-6832

One of the new wave Seattle tea shops, Miro's design detailing is as far a cry from doilies and calico prints as it gets. For anyone who sees modern design as cold, the wood detailing and deft mix of reclaimed and new in this space will win you over. Tea service is simple, double walled cups with clear pots on just as clear pedestals housing a votive. The din here can rise to a pitch far above relaxing during Ballard Avenue rush hour, but you'll still have enough personal space to take a big drag of steam off your oolong and contemplate your farmers market booty.

4. Teacup (above), 2128 Queen Anne Ave. N., 283-5931

There's a strange multiple personality going on here, modern detailing commingling with Asian and grandma inspired tea swag. Sometimes the mommy & me quotient can tip a little toward the untoward, but the service is impeccable and the tea settings will make you as happy as a little girl. The staff takes care in helping you find the perfect pot of tea, and inquires as to your every desired accompaniment. It's all delivered to your table as cute as can be, complete with *gasp* a mini hourglass. Score.

3. Remedy Tea, 345 15th Ave. E., 323-4832

This space will make you want to tile your living room and paint the insides of your eyelids a soothing shade of green. The windows face north, allowing Remedy to keep its cool, clean aesthetic all day long and in all seasons. When it's crowded, the non-table seating can feel a bit weird, but put the laptop down and go with it. You get the full Bodum treatment here, clear pots and cups, but a digital timer sadly replaces sand. Remedy also happens to have a very affordable afternoon tea option (sorry, hotels). #61 Black Satin is highly recommended, and possibly the sexiest smelling tea ever.

2. The Crumpet Shop, 1503 1st Ave., 682-1598

Come on. Walk through the Pike Place Market cobbles, round the corner full of flowers, and get tea. With fresh, honest to goodness crumpets. Nowhere else in town offers as high a quotient of fresh nooks and crannies.

1. Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House (right), 605 S. Main St., 223-9242

Along with an impeccable selection of tea, the Panama Hotel is a very important piece of history for Seattle's Japanese community as well as a fully functional hotel today. The cafe seems to possess the permanent amber glow of a late spring oolong, and no one would dare raise their voice for fear of disturbing the calm. It also has a liquor license, and a very appreviated selection that speaks to me. Campari, Amaro Nonino, Baileys, Jameson, and Maritini Bianco? With green tea shortbread cookies and original flooring? I think my fairy godmother owns this place. Arigato gozaimasu.

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