by Carrie Havranek
Coffee and tea: the yin-yang of the beverage world. Coffee is the pick-me-up, whereas tea feels like the wind-me-down drink of choice. Tea has all sorts of healing, medicinal properties. It’s a restorative. It’s a comfort in the winter and when iced in the summer, it’s a thirst-quencher. We’re lucky here in the Lehigh Valley, because we have quite a few places for a spot of tea—to drink and savor, buy leaves and take them home, or both. Here are five cool ones.
1. Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room, Bethlehem. In the back of the retail shop Donegal Square you’ll find a great restaurant with delicious Celtic-themed foods and drinks; one of them of course is tea. Order yours, which will be served in a pot, as per protocol even if it’s just for you. Don’t forget the basket of scones and soda bread, served with traditional accompaniments.
2. Teavana, Whitehall. This chain has a new location in the Lehigh Valley Mall, on the first floor, where Origins used to be. Calling itself a heaven for tea lovers, Teavana brews a handful of them every day and always has a couple you can sip and sample. Choose among dozens of green, red, black, white and herbal and everything else you can think of–right in the store to bag in bulk and take home and brew. Their supply section is comprehensive and the staff is happy to show you how to brew the best at home, timers and thermometers and all.
3. Sweet Memories, Emmaus. When I used to work for Rodale, every once a while I would go to this homespun, cosy bakery-eatery for lunch–it’s not a traditional tea place per se but always makes me think of tea. For the younger readers among you, stepping inside the door may feel like something only middle-aged moms should do (doilies and lots of country decor), but you can’t argue with thoughtfully served tea and its delicious, sweet accompaniments.
4. Christine’s Secret Garden, Easton. Located just off Center Square, Christine’s secret garden doesn’t sell gardening supplies but a wide variety of tea from all over the world–Sri Lanka, China, Africa, Japan, you name it. Christine can help guide you through the process of selecting the tea and instructions on how to enhance your tea-drinking experience.
5. Jessica’s Tea Room at the Weaversville Inn, Northampton. Now this is what you think of when you think of high tea: a room with white tablecloths, scones with Devonshire cream, quiches on the menu, and salads and sandwiches for lunch. There are a number of different menus and rooms, based on the occasion: for example, there’s a full dinner menu. Do you have little girls in your life? It’s the perfect place for a birthday party.
Carrie Havranek , LPG online editor and Easton resident, loves herbal teas at night or on a rainy afternoon.