Penn State has an underground Tea House? Okay, well, it’s not exactly underground; it’s located in the basement of Ritenour building (close to the Hub) in room 34.
The Penn State Tea House is organized through the Tea Institute at Penn State, which started only 5 years ago. They’ve been teaching and preserving aspects of tea culture and science ever since. Who knew there was a science to tea brewing?
Their organization is student run and research-oriented. Currently, they have a whopping 44 active members, and anyone and everyone who loves tea and/or tea culture can join.
When you go, tea costs between $2 and $3 depending on what kind you pick. They offer a variety of popular choices from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, including white, green, mainland oolong and Taiwan oolong, as well as some more unique kinds like sheng peurh and shu peurh. More than just your usual mint or chamomile teabags, these are the real loose-leaf stuff.
Never heard of or tasted any of these? No fear. Give them a try and ask any questions you have because the people who run the Tea House are basically experts. They can teach you much more awesome information about tea than you’d ever think to learn.
After you pick your tea, you sit down at one of their tables with an authentic serving set-up that will surely surprise you. It’ll make anyone feel like they’ve taken a trip to Asia. They brew the tea for you in the traditional, and scientific, way so as to result in the perfect taste. It has something to do with the chemical properties.
Regardless of the science behind brewing, this is a great place to take a friend, or even a date. The quiet, calm atmosphere makes for a nice place to have a conversation or get to know someone.
They have exhibitions every so often, too. They recently held an Omotosenke public Chanoyu demo, or, in English, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Last week they had another event from April 23-26– a “Yixing Teapot” exhibition which featured the world-renown tea master TeaParker.
This exhibition touched on concepts from ceramics to history, and even offered hands-on experience for learning how to brew. Which means you could brew, too. Or, you know, just come to the Tea House and have someone else do it for you.
Stop by for some tea every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-4 pm, and check out their Facebook page to learn more.
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