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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

An Evening at the Dushanbe Tea House

I walked to my car in the cool summer evening admiring the fact that I tried something new. No, it wasn’t anything crazy like eating some bugs, alligator tail, or even dog – although, I’m pretty sure I accidentally ate some while visiting the Old Summer Palace on my 2006 trip to China. No, it was nothing like that; I simply sat down for a cup of tea at Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse.
I have desired to visit the Dushanbe Teahouse for many years, simply because of a snippet of history I had learned from a coworker. It seemed fantastic that a building, especially a teahouse, a staple of many cultures, particularly in Asia, could be built in Dushanbe, Tajikstan by hand, packed in crates, and shipped to its sister city Boulder, before being reassembled as a symbol of friendship between two amazingly different societies. But, such is the work behind Sister Cities International and the deeper meaning of a public teahouse – a place for socializing and sharing ideas. And I was enjoying it just so with other writers and bloggers like Grace Boyle, Josh Berman, and Cynthia Barnes.
I grew up with pretty liberal parents when it came to my diet. Never was I forced to eat anything I didn’t care to try, with the exception of once – and I think that battle over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich soured my mother on ever making me try anything again. But, nearly thirty years – and an apptitude to be slightly more adventureous – later, I sat down for a night at the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder. I was there to sample some tea and goodies that they will be offering at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Tea Festival on July 23rd and 24th.
There was one problem, though: I had never even sipped a cup of tea before.
I suppose I could have ordered tea at some restaurant, or purchased some at the grocery store, but I never really had the desire to do so. My tendancy to get stuck in a sort of rut and stick with what I know and like, with the exception of when I’m abroad – think of eating dog – usually wins out when I’m at a restaurant or the grocery store, so rarely do I ever try anything new except while away.
On this night, though, I was going to make a triumphant return to adventuresomeness by simply sipping on some tea. Well, at least that’s what I thought before someone plopped an orange blossom mojito in front of me, thus distracting my senses for the remainder of the evening. So, instead of being there to try something new in tea, I was engrossed in a new and tasty alcoholic drink.
The tea did come, though, and I found it unlike anything I had anticipated. My preconceived notion of tea took my mind toward the dark English teas I have seen, as well as that of sweet iced teas that my aforementioned coworker enjoys on a daily basis. I have never cared for the smell of those drinks, so I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip and found something much more mild, albeit still flavorful, in a tasty green tea.
Other darker and, as owner Sara Martinelli stated, much more “earthy” teas followed, but they were still much lighter in color than I had imagined a tea could be; I could still see the bottom of my cup. But, as much as I was engrossed in the tea and its descriptions, I was continually pulled back to the mojito and a discussion about the food menu – particularly in relation to the Tajikstan Plov. The description of the dish by chef and owner Lenny Martinelli made my mouth water and yearn for an immediate return visit to the Dushanbe Tea House, having skipped out on the wonderful array of snacks offered since I was still uncomfortably full from a late lunch.
Emboldened by my adventureousness, I have no doubt I will be returning to Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse sooner rather than later. It had a fantastic atmosphere that seemed perfect for many occasions – like a romantic date or a relaxing afternoon – and as such right up my alley. But, while I enjoyed my first forray into the world of tea, my return will be for the food and, quite likely, another one of those orange blossom mojitos.

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