There's something intrinsically wondrous about the Denver and Boulder area in Colorado. The air is clean and clear. The wildlife diverse, and the nature beautiful in so many ways.
There's another side to this metro area in the mountains though. An extreme diversity of tea and tea companies makes this area one of several real escapes for passionate tea drinkers in the US.
As a self-proclaimed avid tea drinker I have to say I was impressed by my trip.
The first stop Saturday morning was to The Tattered Cover located in downtown Denver. About a ten minute bus ride from the Capitol Hill neighborhood I was staying in. This bookstore quickly made me feel at home. With three floors of awesome, plenty of comfortable and relaxing seating and one helluva food bar I was one happy visitor!
One of the first things I looked for was whether this bookstore served teas in addition to the now traditional coffee (quixotically a flip-flop from the old tradition of tea). They did! Not only that, but they had a comfortably varied selection.
I chose to have both a hot chai and a rather ripe lapsang souchong. The chai was sadly distilled not fresh brewed - but it almost never is when you're out & about, so no complaints there. It was a pretty decent chai, though I think the brew could have used more milk and less chai mix.
The lapsang souchong on the other hand was perfect! brisk and ripe with the pungent aroma of tobacco or smoke given the best of these teas with the deep smoked flavors I've come to expect from this staple of strong Chinese teas. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience here!
Leaving The Tattered Cover our adventure took us to the Capitol building where Colorado's legislature meets to pound the paper into supposedly meaningful law. Whatever your opinion on that may be, the view of mountains beyond is quite breathtaking.
My companion and I moved on to the Denver Art Museum where we met an exhibiting artist, constructed our own contributions to his piece and toured the museum to find some truly beautiful displays. I can't relay how excited I was for this. I should show you instead! Here's some pictures:
For lunch we headed off to City-O-City, a Cafe in Capitol Hill. Here I had a delicious salad, some Oogave soda and some Kombucha. The Oogave was suprisingly pleasant. I'd not had Oogave prior to this and wasn't sure what to expect... but obviously I liked it!
Kombucha is a fermented tea created by adding sugars and cultures to a black or green tea. In this case it was a black tea. This was another first try for me. One I did not like. Don't get me wrong, I know this brew has its fans, some of whome homebrew... I'm just apparently not one of them. It tasted and smelled of rancid, bitter vinegar. Blech!
From City-O-City we made our way to Dazzle, a Jazz club a couple blocks away. Here we enjoyed a couple daytime cocktails while listening to rather adequate Jazz. The Jazz may not have been great... but the company, conversation and drinks were.
Once out of Dazzle we needed a little down time. For most this would already have been a long day. For us we were just getting toward the halfway point! After some music based R&R, a walk to a nearby park where everything appeared to be under construction my companion proposed a trip to a Kadampa Buddhist facility two blocks up.
Here we ended up in a post-prayer mingling session with local practitioners and other interesting people. Much talk of tea abounded and I was gifted a sizeable bottle of Tejava iced tea which I will review in the future. All in all I'd say I had a positive experience here and learned a bit about the Kadampa Buddhist way of life.
Post meditation we met one of my companion's friends and headed out to My Brother's Bar. I have to admit... this has nothing to do with tea. However the bison burger I had was stellar with add-it-yourself toppings and condiments. What I liked best, besides the company and nervousness caused by a table of three Police officers drinking it up in uniform, was the establishment's keystone feature. The music. All classical all the time. No words, never overly loud and wonderfully conducive to talking with friends! Beautiful!