I’ll be honest with you – I was not much of a tea fan until I started visiting tea houses in Asheville with a friend of mine. I’m a coffee drinker through and through, and she was only able to win me over because the atmosphere of Asheville’s tea shops is such a lovely and inviting one.
Whether you’re looking to lounge on floor cushions while sipping a tasty oolong at Dobra Tea or want to learn about the complex and fascinating history of pu-erh teas at High Climate, the tea shops in Asheville offer a wide variety of teas for both on-site consumption and for taking home with you.
Tea shops fulfill a few valuable roles in the social life of Asheville. First, shops like the Spice & Tea Exchange offer a chance to buy high-quality loose-leaf tea and spices that simply aren’t available in most standard grocery stores, and because they turn over so quickly in specialty shops, you’re getting very fresh tea – it makes a big difference!
Second, shops like Dobra form a coffee-shop-like third space that tends to have a far more conversation-focused energy than a coffee shop, where you’re just as likely to find every single person on an electronic device alongside their caffeine of choice. While many tea shops don’t stay open late, any shops that opt to have evening hours also become a wonderful alternative to a bar scene when you still want to socialize at night.
Finally, I’ve found tea shops to be a great source of knowledge for the amateur tea drinker, since many offer guidance as to what kind of tea to try and how to brew it at home, making it easier to create something lovely for those who visit your home.
Like my friend who took me on a tea shop tour of Asheville, you would also benefit from a treasure hunt of a journey, visiting shops all around town to experience their atmosphere and taste the incredible variety available. From black teas and white teas to green teas and herbal blends, you’ll find that every cup comes with a story and a new and often unexpected flavor.
Here are my favorite Asheville tea shops for you to try!
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9 Lovely Tea Shops in Asheville
1. Celebrate a Special Day at The Tea Room at The Inn at Biltmore Estate
One of the features of the Biltmore Estate that I find most interesting is the ability to imagine yourself living the life of one of the incredibly wealthy, incredibly powerful Vanderbilt family members. Walking through the house, gardens, and other features of the estate makes you feel like you can get a mental image of what life was like, and that’s by design: part of how the Biltmore Estate has been so successful as an attraction is that they make you feel the part!
Back in the day, the Vanderbilt family would have received guests for afternoon tea, and this wasn’t just a cup of Lipton while sitting on a porch. This was an important meal-level experience, and the modern equivalent is signing up for Afternoon Tea in the Dining Room of the Inn on Biltmore Estate.
This experience includes Newby Teas, a very fine tea purveyor, in the ornate Dining Room. Remember that “Resort Elegant” is the attire requirement, so shorts, flip-flops, tank tops, and faded denim are all not permitted in order to maintain the gravitas of the experience.
The Dining Room staff serve the tea alongside intricately flavored tea accompaniments that include scones, canapés, and tea sandwiches. There are even alcoholic drinks available, such as tea-infused cocktails, mimosas, or Kir Royale drinks, a cocktail made with Crème de Cassis and champagne.
Location: 1 Antler Hill Road, Asheville
2. Stock Up at The Spice & Tea Exchange of Asheville
While not a sit-down shop to try your teas like one of the many tea shops in Asheville, lots of people love The Spice & Tea Exchange for the sheer variety in their retail store. There are loose-leaf teas of all kinds, and because they are centrally located and very popular, you can be sure that they are keeping the freshest product possible (this isn’t just another long-ignored box of tea in your cabinet from years past).
In addition to their many teas, you can find seasoning blends, single-origin spices, specialty salts, and infused sugars. They package a variety of sets that make for great gifts.
Spices are some of the most compact and practical gifts since a high-quality spice will add value to a friend’s food for a long time. Add a couple of spices to a couple of bags of loose-leaf tea that you love, and you’ve got the perfect Asheville memento.
Location: 46 Haywood Street, #101, Asheville
3. Experience the Pop of Pop Bubble Tea
Now, you might say that a bubble tea shop is a different thing compared to the average tea shop in Asheville, but I believe that everyone deserves to know about bubble tea, even if they were taking afternoon tea at the Biltmore Estate yesterday afternoon. Bubble tea is a very fun drink made by combining cold tea with fruit or sugar and milk and then adding pearls of tapioca that are then consumed through a large straw, combining the sweet drink with the chewy tapioca.
These days, there are so many more options than in the past, from classic tea to fruit tea to milk tea and even matcha, and the boba pearls can be made of other things, from coffee jellies to little spheres full of fruit-flavored syrup that pop in your mouth. Pop Bubble Tea also allows you to adjust how much ice and how much sweetness you want in your drink, making it possible to customize it into the perfect combination for you.
I particularly recommend it as a place to take pre-teens and teens for a special treat. Yes, it’s still a sweet beverage, but you can avoid the heavy caffeine hit of some of the frozen drinks that feature lots of coffee, which is nice in the afternoon. There’s something fun for everyone in North Asheville!
Location: 640 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville
4. Find Bluebird Bubble Tea in South Asheville
You might recognize the Bluebird Bubble Tea name because they’ve been operating a boba tea truck all around town for a while now but are fairly new to the brick-and-mortar tea shop life. Their popular menu includes traditional hot tea but also a variety of products that can include pearls, popping boba, or jellies.
Popular flavors include Taro (a starchy and sweet veggie that makes a great and vibrant drink), Honeydew Melon, Sakura Rose (mixes rose and cherry blossom flavoring!), and Coconut Coffee Thai Special. They also have a variety of lemonades for the non-tea-drinker of your crew, like Lavender Lemonade or Strawberry Lemonade.
They even sell dessert rice cakes called mochi in various flavors, completing your afternoon treat. I find bubble tea to be an approachable treat for young and old, particularly those who are typically fans of sodas and are surprised to discover a new flavor profile that includes more fruit or botanicals with the sweetness.
5. Tea and Coffee are Equal at Bean Werks Coffee & Tea
While many coffee shops offer tea, not every shop puts it in its name. But at Bean Werks Coffee & Tea in West Asheville, they’ve selected a top-notch purveyor of teas, Two Leaves and a Bud, as their source for excellent teas that they then brew to perfection or use in drinks like chai lattes.
From whole-leaf black tea to Tamayokucha green tea to Alpine Berry herbal tea, every cup of tea at Bean Werks is served with a smile. Their service and atmosphere have made them a mainstay in Asheville for more than 20 years, and they focus on finding sources of coffee and tea that are both environmentally friendly and grower friendly, keeping the profits in the pockets of those who are putting the most work into the delicious drinks you select.
They sell tea and coffee in their retail portion as well as making drinks on-site, and they source excellent supplies for a variety of local coffee shops in Western North Carolina, too – a true local institution ready to serve.
Location: 753 Haywood Road, Asheville
6. Find your Favorite from Asheville Tea Company
If you go into gift shops of any kind in downtown Asheville, you’re likely to encounter a display of Asheville Tea Company goodies. This company has opted to get to know real farmers as they sustainably source each ingredient – no fillers or surprise ingredients in the cup!
They try to stick with Southeast United States farms that are growing in ways that regenerate the soil rather than depleting it. One fact that many of us don’t know about tea blends in the grocery store (not all, just some) is that they may opt to add a natural or artificial flavoring rather than a botanical, giving you, for instance, the extract of jasmine sprayed on a cheaper set of ingredients without including real jasmine tea from the Fujian Province.
Asheville Tea Company and, really, most of the best tea shops in Asheville are committed to sourcing teas that will be a step above in many ways from the standard bag of tea from the store. One of the coolest features of their tea and tisane options is that they found and use a plant that is native to the Southeast of the United States since the actual tea plant is not.
Yaupon is the only plant that is both native to North America and has caffeine, making it a real rarity. They source wildly harvested Yaupon, which is also rich in antioxidants and has a gentle pick-me-up like green or black tea, not a zing, like coffee.
Try one of their many boxed sets that includes a Yaupon item, meaning that you’ll get a tea-like beverage that is truly locally sourced since tea itself isn’t widely cultivated in the United States and is often sourced from outside the country.
7. Buy Blends at Market from Appalachian Divinitea
So maybe you’re looking for tea to take home, but you want to make sure it’s as local as it gets. While many local companies use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, supporting a local tea blender is a great way to make your mark on our local economy.
Featured at a variety of farmers markets, Appalachian Divinitea is a small business inspired by a trip to Asia, where the owner learned a lot about the history and culture of tea and came home ready to turn a new-found passion into a business.
With blends like the Chai Chalice organic tea, a Passionfruit organic tea, a Jasmine Green organic tea, or a Spiced Peach organic tea, you’re sure to find something that fits your flavor profile while using the top available ingredients sourced for peak freshness. Check the Appalachian Divinitea website for upcoming markets or to buy online.
8. Try your Way to a New Favorite at High Climate Tea
There are so many intricacies to tea that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t taken a tea flight experience at High Climate Tea. Obviously, true tea aficionados know things like how bitter certain teas can become when steeped for too long, but I was new to it all, and every package of delicious tea came with nice, precise brewing instructions that helped me achieve the incredible flavors I’d had in the tea shop itself.
The tea shop feels like stepping out of ordinary time. After you’re seated at the front bar of the shop, you get to converse casually with the person giving the tea flights, usually someone who knows a ton about tea and shows you how each tea is prepared.
I tried quite a few different teas in truly small amounts, which was nice because I didn’t love every flavor and wasn’t committing to drinking a whole pot of any one of them. I found incredible jasmine white tea and chrysanthemum, an herbal tea I’d never even heard of before, to be incredibly flavorful and pleasant, excellent alternatives to other go-to drinks that have more caffeine or are full of sugar.
I didn’t personally experience the tea room side of the business, but it looked beautifully decorated and I believe the people I saw seemed to be savoring their experience. I took some of their teas home and have been continuing to appreciate my experience every time I float away on a cloud of jasmine white tea made in my own kitchen.
It’s well worth it to try a tea flight, whether you’ve got a visitor that you want to show around town or you are visiting yourself!
Location: 12 S Lexington Avenue, #1, Asheville
9. Choose from Three Unique Locations at Dobra Tea
Dobra Tea offers three Eastern-inspired tea lounges in Asheville, conveniently offering a haven of tea calm in three totally different parts of town. At each location, you can sample a well-curated tea list, with green, white, yellow, black, pu-erh, and herbal teas, as well as iced teas and a few special blends.
Tea blends from China, Japan, Korea, Burma, and India fill out the menu, and you’ll want to take a minute with the menu – practically every tea comes with its own unique backstory. Tea is such a complex and fascinating topic that they offer regular education classes that combine tea drinking with meditation, poetry, and tarot, as well as classes on particular kinds of tea service.
While these tea rooms don’t have a major focus on food, they offer enough menu items to fill you with a nourishing meal or have a light snack with your meal, offering vegetarian delights like hummus plates, pitas with goat cheese and olives, avocado toast, or miso soup. Each spot offers a variety of sweet treats as well, from a sesame tahini cookie to a mochi daifuku, a rice cake filled with red bean paste.
In the downtown Asheville location, the front area is a serene set of tables and partitioned zones to keep the atmosphere calm even when busy. In the back is a peaceful and dimly-lit lounge where guests relax on the floor among cushions and low tables – many find it to be a lovely alternative to sitting in a coffee shop to study.
I like surveying the artisanal teapots and brewing/steeping equipment they have for sale – it’s all so incredibly beautiful that any item could be a great gift for a tea lover in your life.
The West Asheville location offers many small chairs in a narrow space with similar partitions to the downtown location. As in the downtown location, there is a full-scale section for tea items, from cups and teapots to various boxed blends made by Dobra.
An outdoor courtyard adds space to relax under charming umbrellas and in comfortable furniture. Despite being in the central area of West Asheville, it feels cozy and secluded, perfect for a good catch-up conversation with a friend who loves tea.
The newest location is in East Asheville, where the same interior décor – like partitions, lanterns, and panels – is used to create nooks and calm sections. There is a low table that includes spots to sit on the floor, like in downtown, in addition to traditional small tables. It’s a slightly smaller space than the West Asheville location, but given that there used to be a location in Black Mountain east of Asheville, this location was a welcome new place to spend time on the east side.
Downtown: 78 N. Lexington Avenue, Asheville
West Asheville: 707 Haywood Road, Asheville
East Asheville: 1011 Tunnel Road, Asheville
Honorable Mention: Acuppa in Sauna House
Sauna House’s Nordic-style bathhouse seems tailor-made for a small tea cafe, and Acuppa works perfectly in this respect. The sauna is in the Finnish style, including a cold plunge and heated furniture, and guests often combine their bathhouse experience with a wonderful beverage from Acuppa.
It’s a small spot, but they are happy to make you a tea to go if you are in the area and want some top-notch loose-leaf tea. They offer gift cards if you ever want to combine a relaxing sauna and tea experience for your friends or family.
Location: 230 Short Coxe Avenue, Asheville
Honorable Mention: A Pot of Tea With a Wake Foot Soak
While not a true tea shop in Asheville, I can’t make this list in good conscience without mentioning one of my favorite spots to drink a cup of tea: Wake Foot Sanctuary in the Grove Arcade. This simple spa offers 45-minute foot soaks with your feet in a copper tub full of warm water and lovely add-ins like white clay, essential oils, and herbs, all designed to pamper your feet and help you relax.
There are add-ons like massages, snacks, and wine, but my favorite is to order a lovely pot of my favorite herbal tea off their menu and sip tiny cup after tiny cup in the serenity of their quiet room and comfy chairs.
Even when I’m enjoying tea at home or at a shop, I’m often distracted by thoughts of what I’m off to do next or the conversation I’m having with a friend. There’s something about having all your senses pleasantly attuned to the feel and smell of the foot soak and the taste and warmth of the tea that really encourages you to dwell in this very moment – and nothing else.
Location: 1 Page Avenue, #115, Asheville
There you have it! The 9 best tea shops in Asheville, NC. What are your favorite Asheville tea shops? Let us know so we can give them a try!
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