Moscow: A Tiger’s Leap in a Tea House

“It has not the arrogance of wine, the self- consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.” This quote refers to, of course, tea, te, tscha, chai.

However you want to call it, it plays an essential role in the lives of billions of people around the world. My own included.

I had heard of “Tea-Coffee” or “Chai-Coffee” (Chai is tea in Russian) , the famous Moscow store long before I set foot in the city. My mother mentioned it whenever we took trips to Zabar’s on the Upper West Side and lingered in the wonderfully fragrant enclaves of their coffee grinders and tea scales.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a visit to stock up on some loose tea before my long, thirsty trip up to Murmansk. I had heard good things about their selection and about the ambience of the place.

It certainly didn’t disappoint. Built in 1896, the store has preserved its trademark oriental appearance through the Russian Revolution, the Soviet Era, and up to the present-day. Don’t leave without taking a look inside. I bought a green Sencha tea called Tiger’s Leap that has petals of safflower and cornflower, red currant berries, and pieces of raspberries mixed in.

“The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

All quotes are from Kakuzo Okakura’s “Book of Tea”, a work I highly recommend for anyone who can appreciate good tea or good writing. You can read it online here.

(Store Address: Myasnitskaya ul 19Metro: Turgenevskaya)

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