A tea house with a modern twist isn’t your everyday fare. You don’t see one very often in Ohio. Right in the middle of some of Cincinnati’s fanciest shopping locales, Essencha’s main offering is a wide variety of white, green, black, herbal, and oolong teas. It’s got a cult following of die-hard tea drinkers who keep coming back. Complimenting these teas is a light menu of soups and sandwiches.
Albacore Tuna Salad sandwich: $6.85. Pot of black tea: $6.00
Essencha is the right place to go if you like tea. The aforementioned selection of tea is available for purchase and brew at home. The comfortable dining area, however, allows small groups of tea lovers to enjoy the brews in house in a distinct Asian-themed setting. There are even accommodations for those wishing to kneel on traditional pillows while sipping the tea.
I’ll confess that, though I like tea, I don’t necessarily know a lot about it. I expected to walk into Essencha and be forced to just pick whatever sounded good. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find a waiter who recognized the members of my party who had stopped by a few months before.
He also picked out from a list of 100 options the exact tea my companions liked. Return customers like them dominate Essencha’s business, with a glass jar to buy new tea leaves, they are firm members of Essencha’s core demographic: die-hard tea drinkers. I imagine more than a few tea parties have been hosted thanks to Essencha’s massive collection of teas.
The tea was good, and there were more than a few healthy options for tea to drink. The rest of the menu, however, seemed like an afterthought. Certainly all of it was healthy, the selection of sandwiches crepes and soup were almost all vegetarian and vegan-friendly. In fact the only meats to be found anywhere were cold cuts, salmon and tuna salad.I tried a little of each and they were generic and uninspired. I think Essencha is just trying to replicate the feel of the sandwiches you make at home. Consequently, the food options are immensely overpriced to me since I feel like I could easily make something just as good with ingredients from a local Walmart.
Essencha has a very refined customer base. It’s an adventurous choice to give a try, but only if you’re a very, very big tea fan. It serves great tea from a variety of places, though if you don’t like tea, there are no options for you here, and don’t bother trying the place unless you already know you really like tea. Otherwise, it’s best to try something with a wider selection of other foods.
- Don’t expect Essencha to fill you up — the food is very light.
- Small snack foods and deserts are available. Take advantage of them to compliment your tea.
- The variety of teas won’t bore you. If you come with a group, order different pots of tea and share.
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