In this corner, we have Teaism, purveyor of the famous salty oat cookie and owner of the needlessly long tea list. In the other corner, Ebeneezer’s is mellowly rearing to go. With soft pop rock on the radio and beyond friendly staff, they don’t need a cookie to put them in this fight.
Teaism coffee shop cred: yes, there is no coffee on the menu, but with a list of tea that would satisfy even the most particular of British grandmothers, Teaism bounds into the race with its secret weapon: the salty oat cookie. Somewhere in the nether region between salty and sweet, the hockey puck-sized cookie is substantial enough for a snack and decadent (and expensive) enough for a treat.
The rest of Teaism follows suit as a neither fish nor fowl oasis in Chinatown. With a soothing koi pond and a “kisako” policy (please leave when you’re finished if you notice other people waiting), Teaism builds a tranquil, polite atmosphere. On weekends, and especially during tourist season, the downstairs can become quite crowded, but the noise level never gets above an energetic murmur.
Teaism has locations all over the DC area, but still doesn’t seem ubiquitous. They pop up in Penn Quarter, Dupont, and Farragut. With satisfying bento boxes and a beer and wine list, it’s much more than just a tea spot.
Ebeneezer’s coffee shop cred: unbeatable location for Hill workers. Just a block from Union Station, it’s a convenient stop before going through those metal detectors or for a quick break during the day. The homegrown feel is refreshing in this Starbucks-civilization. A handwritten chalkboard of hot and iced coffee drinks as well as smoothies and some baked goods put patrons at ease. Ebeneezer’s doubles as a worship space on Sundays and a haven for wi-fi seekers during the week. They also host live music in the basement most nights of the week.
Final score:while Ebeneezer’s has the all important location, location, location and absurdly friendly staff, Teaism pulls out a win thanks to the spot they fill in DC: fresh food and drink in no way reminiscent of Starbucks or Cosi.
While comparing these two outstanding coffee/tea spots, we acknowledge an uneven playing field with much left unsaid. Explore both options for yourself, be you a coffee, tea, or even a smoothie type.