Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

May 16, 2012 by

There’s more to Boulder than hippies and hiking trails. It’s also a serious tea town. And with tea giant Celestial Seasonings having a home base here, it’s no wonder. But those looking to sip a cup in a unique setting should bypass the factory tour and head instead to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.

The teahouse was gifted by Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 1990, when 200 crates full of hand-carved and painted pieces arrived in the Rocky Mountain town. Eight years later, and with the help of four Tajik artisans, the West’s first authentic teahouse was open for business.

Upon arriving, you get the distinct feeling you’re not in Colorado anymore. Fourteen ornate hand-carved pillars, each unique, draw the eye up to the ceiling. Built, carved and painted in Tajikistan without the use of power tools, the ceiling is a mosaic of bright colors and intricate patterns found in traditional Persian art. A grand central fountain and traditional Tajik furniture complete the scene.

Cuisine here is international, with options such as Persian spiced chicken, Vietnamese pho and Brazilian vatapa. We love the traditional Tajik plov, a grilled beef and rice dish with carrots, onion, chickpeas and spices.

Just looking to drop in for a quick cup? Dushanbe offers over 80 flavors, ranging from far-flung exotic blends to hometown tastes from Celestial Seasonings. Come between 3 and 5 pm for an elegant afternoon tea served alongside pastries and cucumber sandwiches ($19.95 per person; reservations required).

Can’t make it to Boulder? Check out a virtual tour to ogle from afar.

photo credit: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

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