a history of tea

fab-tea

while I was in Český Krumlov, among many pleasant local establishments, the owner of the Krumlov House recommended a place called Dobrá čajovna for tea. it’s down a back alley near the entrance to the castle and, she advised, served its teas in the style of their place of origin. I checked it out and was not disappointed; in addition to living up to it’s name as a “good tea house”, it lacked all trace of that blight of gorgeous tourist towns — the o.a.p. tour group/herd. my visit to the Krumlov Dobrá čajovna fell into a euphoric phase of my travels and I spent an hour and a half waxing … euphoric about travel in my journal (at nine pages, unquestionably my longest entry of the trip). I enjoyed my tea, wrote, savored the Czech atmosphere, watched the kids of one of the employees explore the cafe, and headed out and on to dinner.

a week later, back in Prague, wandering around a packed Wenceslas Square, I spied the cafe’s distinctive sign pointing down another back alley. same decor, same menu, same good tea, but a more Prague than Czech atmosphere (i.e. expat and/or international — lots of English). enjoyed my tea, rested my feet after walking back from Vysehrad, wrote a shorter entry in my journal, read my book, and headed off to find dinner.
a week later, back in Madison, heading up Gilman St to exchange my movies at Four Star, I once again spied the cafe’s distinctive sign. and it clicked, why the sign and decor looked familiar when I was in Krumlov — I’d been inside a Dobrá čajovna before, though one called the Dobrá Cafe. I must confess to feeling somewhat dismayed that this great teahouse I’d found turned out to be a chain — do U.S. companies have to co-opt everything?
except it’s a Czech chain! the tea room in Wenceslas Square in Prague is the original. the Communist regime forbid the importation of tea, but a group of tea enthusiasts met anyway to sample various teas smuggled into the country. after the Velvet Revolution, they opened the location in Wenceslas Square and have since expanded to all over the Czech Republic, as well as to Budapest, Krakow, Bratlisalva, Burlington, VT, and Madison, WI! if you enjoy tea, and find yourself in any of these cities with some time to spend at a tea house, check this one out.

(incidentally, I figured out it was a Czech chain because the package of tea I bought for a friend last week was in English and Czech. why the hell else would the packaging be in Czech?! it is not a language one slaps on merchandise without reason.)

Author: Erica

born in the midwest with wandering feet.