By: Colin Martindale
It seems like everything today is all about fast. Fast food, high-speed internet, faster cars, get rich quick, lose ten pounds in a week, multi-task on your phone while you drive, and so on. Time is money so go, go, go! As students, we are crammed with school and extracurricular work, as well as keeping up with the many friends we have made in our time here. Rarely do we take the time to simply slow down and relax. When we do it tends to come in the form of doing our best vegetable impersonation in front of the television.
Dobra Tea and Macha Teahouse challenge this paradigm. Both force you to kick off your shoes, order, and wait for your tea to steep. After the usual hustle and bustle that make up our daily lives, I found that taking the time to sit and chat around a cup of tea to be a delightful change of pace.
It seems cliché to mention the “experience” of a restaurant, but the deliberateness of both teahouses created an environment much different than what fast-paced society is used to. The tea serves as a catalyst
for reflection if drank alone, or conversation if enjoyed with a friend. While we are on clichés, it also reinforces the idea that patience is truly a virtue, despite how annoying that can be to hear.
Macha Teahouse lives up to its name quite literally as it is an old converted house similar in style to the Vilas neighborhood houses that surround it. The downstairs is a friendly atmosphere that is well lit by natural light, making it a perfect place to spend time in the early afternoon. While the downstairs is open with a few tables set up much like a corner brunch stop, the upstairs has small rooms of all different styles. From a Zen room with cushions on the floor and a minimalist table to the comparatively grandiose Moroccan tearoom, Macha has a diverse range of ambience.
At Macha, I ordered the Be Well tea, which is an herbal blend of chamomile, eucalyptus, rooibos, and more. The tea was instantly soothing with the subtle sweetness of the chamomile emerging as the predominant flavor. A hint of mint and lemon also added to the taste, making it more complex than straightforward chamomile tea. I tried alternating between sipping it and eating my lemon rosemary muffin, a decision I was immediately rewarded by. The sweetness of the muffin was balanced perfectly by the subdued aroma and floweriness of the tea. I left relaxed, calm, and in high spirits as I’m sure many before me have as well.
Dobra Tea’s ambience is both similar and quite different than that at Macha. Dobra has both tables and sitting areas with pillows and cushions. However, Dobra Tea was much less private, with everyone in closer proximity to each other; it had more of a communal feel. Like Macha, Dobra offers an immense range of teas that could accommodate just about anyone.
I treated myself to the Bao Zhong tea, a Taiwanese oolong tea. Perfect for the morning, the Bao Zhong was clean and refreshing, with a sharp crisp finish that left me clear headed and ready to face the day. Moreover, it was fruity, with a sweet melon taste that I quite enjoyed. All in all, a perfect late morning tea that prepared me for an impending exam.
Needless to say, I loved both Dobra Tea and Macha Teahouse. Both provided a much-needed break from the fast paced lifestyle many of us are part of. The experience helped balance the stress of school and work through thought and good conversation. It reminded me that sometimes, in fact, we do just need to slow down and make the moment last.