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New Taste of Tea Lounge in Healdsburg

Sonoma Wine Country isn’t just know for wine: Tea is making a slash in downtown Healdsburg.

There’s tea to drink, and then there’s tea to soothe the body and soul. With Healdsburg’s new The Taste of Tea, that’s quite literal, because the parlor on Healdsburg Avenue and North Street combines a tearoom with a retail tea store, a tea-centric café, and a spa using tea as a soothing ingredient for facials.

First, let’s sip, selecting from Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, or artisan blends served hot or iced. The line up is lengthy and exotic, such as Pharaoh’s chamomile from Egypt, Night Blooming Jasmine, Chinese White Peony, Organic Sakura Karigane, and Ceremonial Grade Usucha Premium Matcha.

If the teas sound familiar, it’s because you’ve seen The Taste of Tea booth at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmer's Market for the past two years.

But now, we can go even fancier with MarTeaNis, non-alcoholic concoctions served in a martini glass with flavors like Tiger Eye (cold drip Honeybush stirred with Sonoma white ginger finished with a rose sugar rim) or Emerald (matcha shaken with coconut milk and Sonoma mint finished with a mint sugar rim).

Part of the experience is watching the tea artists work their craft behind the bar. They make shaken or stirred iced teas, fashion hot siphon pot infusions, and explain the holistic science of the ingredients.

There’s tea-themed food, too, like shiso ochazuke (Kyoto Bancha tea poured over a shiso seasoned grilled rice ball with cucumber-shaved daikon salad and umeboshi pickled plum), tea soaked salmon ochazuke with wasabi caviar and anchovies, and green tea cream puffs.

Non-tea dishes tempt with ramen and salmon, plus an “UnWine to ReWine” detox of combo of Arnold Palmer black ice tea with Meyer Lemon drop ice cubes (to rehydrate), miso soup (reenergize), seasoned rice rolls (soak up alcohol), cucumber and seaweed salads (cleanse and hydrate), and cream puff (something sweet).

For spa time, the space also includes the Relaxation Room, for those tea facials and tea footbaths.

Owners Nez and Donna Tokugawa also invite private parties in the Zen-style, minimalist space set with wood and pops of bright red. Non-alcoholic baby showers, perhaps?

Details: 109 North Street, Healdsburg, 707-431-1995, thetasteoftea.com.

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