Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dobrá Tea

We all have weaknesses. It’s only human, right?

Weaknesses often connote food-related indulgences—from fine wine, to fresh cheese bread to simply delicious apple pie. Mine is chocolate. I know I am not alone; Aztec gods, plenty of my friends, and I admit to a daily indulgence.

I have tried chocolate in many forms: bars, drops, truffles, cocoa, brownies, cakes and even in chili (my secret ingredient is out!). But until I went to Dobrá Tea in Madison, WI, I had never had chocolate in my tea.

Dobrá Tea has become my favorite place to relax and unwind on State Street. Among the myriad restaurants and packed bars, Dobrá Tea sits on an unimpressive corner, indicated by a small sign hanging near the door to alert passersby. Stepping inside, however, the colorful decor of this “Bohemian” tea house exudes warmth and a hip vibe.

Small, raised platforms are tucked throughout the café, creating intimate tea-drinking nooks. As you take off your shoes, and step up onto a carpeted platform floor, Indian fabric cushions welcome you. A low table holds a single candle, while beaded curtains and plants create some privacy.

Dobrá Tea is designed after Czech tea houses that grew out of a Communist-era, tea-loving culture. The original Dobrá Tea (Dobrá Cajovna) opened in the Czech Republic in 1993; Madison’s own Dobrá Tea opened its doors in 2008.

The hefty menu at Madison’s Dobrá Tea offers over 60 fine teas from 11 countries including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South American and India. They offer the familiar Darjeeling, Rooibos, and Bancha, but also feature dozens of lesser known black, white and green teas such as ‘Liu’An Guapian’ and ‘Huang Shan Mao Feng.’ And chocolate-infused black tea.

Once I navigated the tea novella/menu—the staff will help if you need it—I decided on the ‘Memories of Prague.’ This gentle blend of black Assam tea and bittersweet chocolate, served with milk and honey, sounded perfect for a chocolate lover like me. The chocolate is very subtle, providing just a hint of deep flavor that complements the rich and “sparkling” Assam tea. The milk and honey make it dessert-worthy, and the two small “spice nuggets” served alongside quiet a hungry stomach.

The actual food menu is small, featuring mostly Mediterranean inspired snacks such as hummus and pita. But when chocolate is a part of the drink menu, who needs food?

Even if you weakness isn’t tea, or chocolate, Dobrá Tea is a great spot to relax with friends.

449 State St. Madison, WI. Open 11-11 everyday.


Carolyn Jung said...

As a chocolate fiend, I like chocolate in just about anything. In tea now, too? Oooh, I am soooo there! ;)

Sophia said...

I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but I do appreciate it at times, and chocolate in my tea sounds super cool! I wish I had the $$ though! :-(

Otehlia said...

Yeah, the tea costs a lot considering it is hot water and plant matter, but a once-in-a-while splurge is worth it. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Margie said...

I just saw tea with chocolate flavor at my local coffee shop and was skeptical. Your description makes it sound irresistible! I love Madison and will have to check out Dobra Tea on my next visit. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. And I'm thrilled to discover another WI food blogger.