Apparently it's National Coffee Day today, which seems like an excuse for 7-Eleven to get a bunch of dubious press (free coffee at 7-Eleven still sounds like a bad deal to me because it means you're ingesting 7-Eleven coffee) and for journalists to write really lazy articles.
Just to be contrary, we're advocating boycotting this fabricated holiday by supporting one of Portland's many excellent teahouses. Those guys never get any love.
Here's five suggestions:
The Tower of Cosmic Reflections: Although it sounds like a new age cult, the Tower of Cosmic Reflections is the name of the Tao of Tea teahouse in the Chinese Garden. You still have to pay the $8.50 admission fee to the garden to get there, but it's worth it for a peaceful sanctuary in Old Town, where you can enjoy flights of Chinese teas and participate in tea tastings. Northwest 3rd Ave. and Everett St., 228-784, lansugarden.org
Fat Straw: Boba tea is the way to pretend you're being healthy by drinking tea, but packing it with so much sugar, fruit and syrup, the flavor is totally obscured. We're not judging, though. It's delicious. 4258 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 233-3369, and 806 NW 23rd Ave., 206-8541, fatstrawpdx.com
Steven Smith Teamaker: The grandaddy of Portland tea sells premium brews in a little brick building hidden away in a relatively obscure part of the northwest. Expect to get an education along with your drink. 1626 NW Thurman St., 719-8752, smithtea.com
Townshend's Alberta Street Teahouse: This cute and comfy teahouse has 11 types of chai and makes, in our opinion, the city's best kombucha, Brew Dr. Kombucha. 2223 NE Alberta St., 445-6699, townshendstea.com
The Lovecraft: We admit we've never actually tried the tea at this self-described "horror themed tea shop and bar" but then you don't really go to the Lovecraft for the drinks—you go for the decor, music, karaoke and the chance to wear spiky leather boots with 5 inch soles. 421 SE Grand Ave., 971-270-7760, thelovecraftbar.com