Step off of M Street in Georgetown, laden with tourists snapping selfies on their iPads and tweens gushing over the Forever 21 opening, and enter Ching Ching Cha Tea House—a lofty tearoom that feels a world away.
You’re encouraged to take off your shoes as you sink your tired self onto the plush cushions and leaf through the menu of over 70 different kinds of teas. I recommend the peach blossom. You’ll watch as a flower blooms in your teacup and flavors it with Jasmine and hints of fruit.
The Harmony, a fruity and tangy tea that comes with a punch of flavor, is also delicious. The staff are impressively knowledgeable about every type of tea on the menu and will gladly explain the effects each one has on the body. Dressed in a traditional outfit, your waitress will show you how the Chinese tea ritual is done and refill the beautiful, thick black pot of hot water for as long as you lounge in the sea of cushions.
If you’re hungry (we know you are)—don’t stop at just tea. Ching Ching Cha’s starters and tea snacks don’t disappoint and make for a perfect lunch to share with friends on a lazy afternoon or after serious power shopping. The Mongolian dumplings are hand formed and come steaming hot. Order the curry beef roll for a flaky, buttery pastry filled with curry spiced ground beef. The marble tea egg is almost too pretty to eat, but the surprising combination of egg, soy sauce, star anise and peppercorn work well together.
For $14 (an awesome deal), you can get your choice of three vegetables, a featured dish which includes curry chicken, mustard miso salmon or teriyaki silky steamed tofu along with jasmine rice and a bowl of soup. Make sure to try the green tea and red bean mochi, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, the lotus seed paste wrapped in puff pastry.
Spread your body out on the cushions, keep the tea pouring and good conversation flowing, and your Saturday afternoon will be better than ever. If you’re in Dupont Circle, check out Teaism, another great tea house.
Location: 1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun: 11 am – 9 pm