As the kids settle back into school and the temperatures get cooler, you may be yearning for a hot healthy cup of coziness to help you through the day. Here are my favorite Tahoe tea house picks.
Located right across from the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area boat ramp and next to Perennial Nursery & Landscape, Pep’s Place makes and sells breakfast, lunch, coffee, tea, beer, wine and more using locally sourced ingredients. It also carries a full line of Tahoe Teas available by the bag or by the cup made right around the corner in Carnelian Bay. My favorites are the Tahoe Local, which has an aromatic spearmint taste and the Tahoe Balance goes great as a latte. | pepstahoe.com, tahoeteas.com
Cha’ Fine Teas of Truckee
Cha’ Fine Teas of Truckee has an amazing selection of boba tea and more than 80 kinds of loose leaf tea including 14 green teas, 7 white teas, 21 herbal teas and 2 Pu-erh blends. I’m a fan of the Hibiscus and Berry Lemonade teas, but the Get Well Soon, Tummy Tamer, Peppermint Patty and Truckee Green selections are great for the body. The Earl Grey la Crème also won the Taste Test award from Tea Time Magazine. | chafineteasoftruckee.com
Free Bird Cafe
Years ago, in his early Tahoe days as a barista, Aaron Abrams learned how to make chai tea from a woman of Indian descent. He changed it to his taste and opened the Free Bird Café in South Lake Tahoe. His chai is so delicious that he was able to open two more locations in South Lake Tahoe. His original, roots, yerba, ruby, dirty and muddy chai teas are made from scratch. My favorite is the muddy chai with chocolate and milk. Free Bird serves 10 flavors of loose leaf tea, and Abrams will introduce chai and tea latte specials. All three Free Bird cafes have a cozy atmosphere. | freebirdtahoe.com
Bare Roots Artisan Coffee Roasting Co.
Although Bare Roots Artisan Coffee Roasting Co. in South Lake Tahoe is known more for its coffee than its tea, their masala chai and golden lattes are worth mentioning. They make their own spice mix for the two which are their most popular tea selections. However, Bare Roots also carries the Teapigs brand in interesting flavors including popcorn, spiced winter and chocolate orange. I tried the seasonal pumpkin chai made with house-made masala, pumpkin sauce and signature fall spice blend. The first sip reminded me of the bright orange and yellow colors of autumn. | barerootscoffeetahoe.com
Although it has coffee in its name, Coffeebar also sells five kinds of loose leaf tea. The Tahoe Sunshine is a sweet herbal tea made with honeybush, lemongrass, lavender, rooibos and calendula petals.
As the only Tahoe tea house with “Tea House” in its name, I feel that Tahoe Bear Tea House in South Lake Tahoe is worth a mention. It specializes in cold boba (or bubble) meaning most of its black tea combinations have tapioca pearls in them. | coffeebar.com, tahoebearteahouse.com