Jan 27 2013

How sublime. Meeting a friend in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., for afternoon tea at a popular Chinese tea house, called Ching Ching Cha.

It was a cold, crisp Saturday morning here in Maryland. Running errands before heading into the City heightened our appetite for good food and restful warmth. Following a great suggestion, we met on Wisconsin Avenue, between M Street and the C&O Canal at Ching Ching Cha, a Tea House carefully appointed in true Chinese Tea House style.

A bit of heavenly China in Washington, D.C.

Cha is the Chinese word for tea, and as the web site shares, the founder of Ching Ching Cha is named “Ching Ching.” It was easy to settle in and relax with gracious service setting off a warm earth toned ambiance. There are many reviews that state Ching Ching Cha is just like the tea houses in China. I found a number of YouTube videos showing that to be true.

Sky lights, rosewood and Chinese art compliment the tea.

What a sanctuary we found in the middle of Saturday errands. Ching Ching Cha serves more than seventy teas, each one a high quality loose leaf tea prepared to order.  We noticed the more tea we drank , the more relaxed we felt, so having had a hard week, we decided we were going to stay a while.

The teas we selected had brewing techniques similar to these.

Each type of tea seems to require special brewing techniques along with individual serving vessels. The rituals and associated vessels, cups, pots and trays create a fascinating interplay for each guest. The tea preparations encourage total focus on enjoying the beverage. We became totally absorbed with the preparation of and sipping of hot tea.

A central pot, the source of our hot water, for making our teas.

Concentrating on tea preparation relieves the mind of other worries. Good conversation along with the quiet, music free atmosphere of the tea house insulated us from outside cares. Soon the warm, delightfully fragrant beverage was ready to be enjoyed and our minds were calm, ready to be delighted.

Lacquered trays held Tea Meals of meat and freshly steamed vegetables.

We really had a good time. We decided to stay all afternoon, enjoying more than one Tea Meal, several Tea Snacks and all three of Ching Ching Cha’s tasty desserts: Coconut Tarts, Almond Cookies and Lotus Seed Puff Pastries. The time went quickly. Even though we eventually had to go back out into our hectic lives, when we left, we carried a bit of the Chinese Tea House with us.

We began serenely driving back onto the Washington, D.C., I-495 Beltway, to go home alert and refreshed.

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