My Fitbit has become my faithful companion – reminding me to walk more, cheering me when I reach my goals and rewarding me with trophies when I achieve something special. This week, I was rewarded with the Japan badge, which celebrated the fact that I had walked the full length of Japan… 1,869 miles. What better way to celebrate a fitness goal than by eating?!
Being mindful of the nature of the accomplishment, I decided to explore a place that caught my eye in the town of Black Mountain, it was Dobra Tea (and yes they have a few other locations around the country so check to see if there’s one near you). Just walking through the door was an amazing experience. My senses were flooded with the aromatic smells that were deliciously herbal and slightly medicinal; the crisp, coolness of the colors; and the calm feeling brought on by the laid-back Japanese-Zen style.
Seating varied from traditional table and chairs, to round floor cushions, to large, comfy booths divided with Japanese shoji screens. The tea menu was over an inch thick and contained around 100 pages of complex and informative details on approximately 125 teas. It was a well thought out and interesting guide, but slightly intimidating to dive into – so understandably it took me 10 minutes to decide on a drink. But I never felt rushed because I was given a little bell to ring when I was ready to order or needed assistance.
I chose a fermented tea from Yunnan, China known as Shou Pu-er . To be completely honest, I liked it’s non-scientific name of “Big Blessing” and the fact that it claimed to have undertones of butterscotch. Those two facts alone made it irresistible to me. My server, Andrew, informed me that this was an excellent choice and that one order would contain many infusions – plenty for two people – so my husband didn’t get to order the tea he had spent 10 minutes selecting… guess that means we’ll be back.
My tea was served in a traditional Chinese style and came with explicit instructions from Andrew, who demonstrated the series of procedures using a variety of vessels for steeping, straining and pouring that he beautifully and precisely executed to make my first delicious cup of pu-er tea. The rest of the infusions would be up to me, so please note the bamboo draining tray under the tea vessels – that’s to hide the big mess I made when I tried to replicate the complex series of pours from one vessel to the next. Luckily, Andrew was right and one order contained many infusions so even my sloppiness would not put me in danger of running out of tea. I drank at least 6 cups of tea and I think that there were still more blessings to be had.
Dobra tea also had a very simple menu of healthy, vegetarian bowls, snacks and desserts. I sampled the spring rolls and the Mountain Bowl which were both as beautiful as they were delicious. This was a refreshing and relaxing way to spend some time.
A side note on our humble and helpful server Andrew… turns out he and his wife are the owners of not only the Black Mountain location of Dobra Tea, but also the other two Asheville locations. Andrew’s ties to Dobra go all the way back to its origins in Burlington, Vermont. He had a passion for plants and healing and brought the AVL community an oasis to escape the everyday and relax with friends, conversation and tea. Thanks Andrew and Lindsay!