Atlanta’s Chamblee neighborhood has a lot of different little secrets to offer, and just along the railroad tracks along Peachtree Road is an experience in tea of all kinds. Zen Tea isn’t just like every other kind of coffee shop, though, it’s got some real local spunk. The kind of place where everyone seems to know one another and regulars pop right behind the counter, help themselves, then find a table in the corner to set up a computer and socialize. If your tea fanatic needs anything, for just about any kind of tea, you will find it here.
The teas come in plenty of varieties, among them ‘loose tea,’ tea sold in tea bags, powdered tea, and the china and accessories around the brewing of tea. The exact menu of teas is massive, and changes regularly. All manner of chais, herbal teas, green teas, and everything in between. I gave a sampling to a few of the chais, I do like that style of tea. There’s a great plain black chai that has a pretty direct flavor, as well as a spiced chai with a few extra herbaceous notes to it. I really liked the dark chocolate chai. Again, the taste of chocolate is very light, somewhat muted, and it’s served hot, but still with that strong chai aroma that is wonderful.
And of course I had to try the spiced tea of the day — Georgia peach of course — because who doesn’t love that? The spices are very muted and allow the peaches to show off a nice mild spice. It’s a great centerpiece to the teas here. But Zen isn’t just about tea! It’s also got a small menu of food for lunch. The menu is a bistro concept, with quiche, soups, salads and more on the menu, as well as bakery treats like cake and scones and lots of other little things. All of these round out the Atlanta tea room nicely as an experience.
And an experience it is. I gave the place a try and it wasn’t just the kind of place that die-hard tea fans go. The staff was extremely friendly to newcomers and was great at explaining some of the simpler concepts and subtleties of tea, without making the experience unpleasant. It’s no wonder so many locals came in and seemed to be a regular presence. It’s just a wonderful place to go to spend some time. And I have to say it’s hard not to want to go back for some peace and quiet the next time I find myself in bustling Atlanta.
- The shop has an extensive market of teas at its online shop, in addition to the Atlanta tea room, and many of the teas you might not otherwise find are available for purchase there.
- The spot offers a number of light food items to nibble on alongside your tea.
- It also offers a wide array of tea pots, accessories and other things for home tea brewing.