Cup of Tea and a Blog

Welcome to my spot for musing about all things tea. Here you'll read reviews of quality teas, click through comments on tea rooms and shops I've visited, and see photos of leaves and cups. You’ll also find things I might talk about over a cup of tea, like philosophy, literature, current events, or fun ways to pass the time.

Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

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07 October 2005

Tea in Salt Lake City

I’m in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a quick visit with my sister. Last night she brewed up a pot of an oolong that smelled like melted butter! Wow, very different. I don’t have the bag available to give the name or the vendor (in San Francisco), but I’ll try to post that later. Maybe I’ll grab a few leaves to take home and try it gong fu style.

Today, while she was at work, I went off in search of a good cup of morning tea. She’d given me a tip on a nearby place, the Tea Grotto.

The Tea Grotto shares the building with a Feng Shui store, so there is quite a bit of Asian influence in the décor (including a “zen room,” with low tables, mats, and cushions). The Asian influence carries over to the tea and accessories, with yixings, gaiwans, and other ceramics for sale. I was able to order a pot of golden yunnan, which made me happy. They also carry a variety of assams, oolongs, whites, and greens. There are several flavored teas, including chai and tea lattes, listed on the board.

There are more teas than you see here. I couldn't fit the whole list in the picture.

It’s a clean, open, and airy environment. The tea is brewed for you, so it was pretty much a hands-off experience. That’s okay -- the sun was shining in on the café tables, I wasn’t awake yet anyway, and the tea was brewed carefully and tasted great. I grabbed a free newspaper and sat at a table.

After visiting a few shops to pick up some gifts for my nieces and nephew (next stop on the trip to visit family), I had lunch at a Tibetan restaurant.

They have a small buffet with plenty of vegetarian food. They also carry three types of tea. I have tried the Tibetan buttered-salted tea before, and (much as I want to) I just can’t get past the texture of it. This time, I went with a sweetened tea, which was quite a bit like a milky chai (but not as spicy).

It’s been a wonderfully warm and sunny day, with the mountains in full view and the honeybees drifting in the wind. It still feels like summer here, although it does get a bit chilly after dark. The only sad part of the visit is that I wasn’t able to meet up with fellow blogger Tea Posur, who lives in the area, since her work schedule didn’t mesh up with mine. On the next visit here I’ll leave more time for tea buddies. :)

Salt Lake City has a desert geography, and it lies between the Salt Lake and a mountain range (is that the Uintas?). Park City and Sundance are in those mountains, along with many other picturesque towns and ski areas. We’ll be driving over the pass tomorrow, and heading across to the east side of Wyoming (my hometown -- Laramie) to see the rest of my family. Tomorrow I’ll be at 7,500 feet, looking at vast blue skies, wind-swept plains, and the Rocky Mountains. I packed a lapsang souchong, which I always feel is best sipped at high altitudes. I’ll report soon on how it brews up and how well it tastes in the mountains themselves (around 11,000 feet elevation).


Blogger Knitty Cat said...

So glad you had fun here! Will you be stoping by on your way back home? If you're coming through on a week day, how 'bout another cuppa?

8:50 AM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

Sorry for not replying sooner, but I've had really limited Internet access since leaving SLC. I can't send email, just look at the web, so I hope you check this.

I wish there'd be more time for another cuppa, but I'm getting in late the night before leaving in early morning hours. At least, hopefully I'll be back. We got dumped on by the first major snowfall of the year (about 4 inches, I think). :)

6:57 AM  
Blogger Knitty Cat said...

It's ok. Glad you're alright!

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Glad you enjoyed SLC. I have been living here for 4 years since emigrating from the UK. I've drunk way too much tea in my lifetime never really realising the breadth of information regarding tea that is available.
I popped into the Tea Grotto today to source some tea for some gift baskets I'm putting together (my first venture into business). I too found the staff very knowledgeable and accommodating. They even said I could put some of my baskets (boxes) in there store for sale. Very generous. I look forward to gleaning more information about tea from them as time goes by
Have a great time "up north" this Winter. Be sure to come back to ski. "Greatest Snow on Earth", read the plates if you don't believe me. Happy tea drinking
Regards, Paul

12:16 AM  
Blogger terov said...

Just wanted to let everybody know that the Tea Grotto is online at and blogging at Come check us out!

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca Long Okura, Salt Lake City said...

Love the Tea Grotto and (even though I moved here from back East and I'm not a local) I love that you enjoyed your visit to our funny little city.

Those are the Wasatch Mountainss to the East and the Oquirrh Mountains to the West.

I'm having a nice Genmaicha right now- CHEERS!

1:40 PM  

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