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Bamboo Grove Salon Teahouse

July 16, 2009 3 comments
Bamboo Grove Salon

Bamboo Grove Salon

Portland is an ideal city for mixed use community spaces. There are so many unique and interesting groups that need homes for their activities.

Bamboo Grove Salon meets this need in a fascinating way.  Rather than being just a large open chasm, Bamboo Grove has built a cozy and intimate tea house and art gallery connected to their community space. This creates opportunities for some great parings: unwind after some Tai Chi with an oolong , sip some green tea while you learn Go from local Go Masters, or savor a nice herbal as you wait for your turn on group acupuncture night.

Bamboo Grove was created by Gabriel Weiss who, like the space, has a very varied background. Weiss is a stone mason and Chinese herbalist by trade. He worked at the Tao of Tea doing all the stone work for their former store on NW 21st and Hoyt. He also helps his wife who runs the pilates studio next door.  Weiss’s eclectic background is the perfect mix for the warm, charming and inviting space that is Bamboo Grove.

While the events and art gallery portion of Bamboo Grove Salon (including a letter press business called Zhu Lin) have been around a while, the tea house is a brand new addition. Rather than focusing on a menu filled with dozens of varieties of tea, Weiss opts for a very focused selection. “I’d rather serve just a few really good teas than a ton of tea,” Weiss commented. He’s got a fantastic source for tea as Bamboo Grove sits one story above the tea warehouse for the Tao of Tea, home to literally thousands of pounds of tea. “Some morning when we come in we can just smell tea”.

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$2 Gong Fu Tea!!!

Weiss is extremely talented at serving tea and he presents tea ordered in Gung-Fu style (a small clay pot and cups). This is how tea is traditionally served and the experience is light years beyond anything you can experience from a tea bag.  Since the tea part of Bamboo Grove is just starting, they’ve been working out their ordering process and it can be a little informal, but look for them to refine their offering as they grow.

One of the amazing things about Bamboo Grove is how well priced the tea is. We drank a nice oolong from Taiwan, gung-fu style, for $2. The exact same pot of tea served at the Tao of Tea would be $8. This could very well be the best deal on a beverage in Portland.

In addition to good tea served well, the space is warm, inviting and provides a nice oasis from the industrial neighborhood which surrounds it.

Bamboo Grove Salon is located on  134 SE Taylor (enter on SE 2nd). Tea is served Monday through Thursday from 1-9pm with other special tea events (Like GO and Tea Wednesday nights 7-10pm).  Phone: 971-207-8476

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Tea and Poetry in Portland

Heavens Tea Teahouse

Heavens Tea Tea House

Portland is home to some truly special places. Things happen in this town that simply don’t happen anywhere else. One example of this is Heaven’s Tea, run by “Tea Monk”  Paul Rosenberg (he’s actually a Tea Master but far too modest to say so). Located at the base of Mt. Tabor, Heaven’s Tea  holds tea ceremonies in both an outdoor tea house as well as an attic tea space.  Each location could easily be classified as a “sacred space”, adorned with ancient Tibetan art with design and construction work by some of Portland’s most talented artisans. Tea ceremonies are often accompanied by fresh cut flowers and local chocolates creating a truly remarkable environment.

As majestic as the setting is, the tea ceremonies would be nothing without Paul Rosenberg, one of the foremost practitioners of the art of tea on the west coast.  From 30 year Pu-erh to Phoenix Tea from 400 year old tea trees, you never know what Paul will pull out and serve at one of his tea sessions. Paul is a tea maestro and he brews and serves rare teas you simply can’t purchase anywhere else.

The rare teas served at Heaven’s Tea have very a deep and profound impact on your state of being. If you’ve ever practiced yoga and felt yourself drift into another ‘space’, you’ll start to get an idea of what drinking tea with Paul is all about. If your image of tea involves ripping open a tea bag and plunging it into a cup of water, or a brightly colored iced bubble tea that you slurp through a fat straw, prepare to have your mind blown.

Heaven’s Tea has a wide range of events every month, from tea classes to tastings, tea and meditation, and even private one-on-one tea sessions. This week I attended an evening event called “New Moon Tea and Poetry”.  Sitting in the outdoor tea house with five other people, we sampled a wide range of rare teas, sipped sake, read and wrote poetry. Although I am a writer I tend to be a little shy when it comes to writing poetry, but the evening was so inspiring that the words just flowed.

Take a deep breath
While you may not see the road ahead, it is there
You cannot control the direction of a river
Neither can the rain
So breathe my friend
The journey is long  and you have just begun.

Heaven’s Tea offers a unique experience in both tea and getting in touch with the sacred spaces within all of us. Paul’s work is absolutely not denominational in any way and he tailors each session to the people in attendance. One thing is absolutely guaranteed: you’ll never forget the experience.

For more information about Heaven’s Tea:

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