Finland is a land of coffee. But if you look around in Helsinki, you can find some amazing oases of tea as well. Teen ystävät ry (Friends of Tea Association) has compiled a list of tea shops in central Helsinki. They have appropriately dubbed this area the “Tea District”. The area stretches from Kamppi in the west to Katajanokka in the east, with most of the chosen tea shops congregated in this corridor.
I’m a huge fan of tea and thus living proof that a love of coffee and a love of tea can happily coexist. Below I’ve gathered three of my favourite tea shops/tea rooms in Helsinki.
Address: Annankatu 19, Helsinki
The name of this little shop on Annankatu means “Tea Country”. It’s a small country, but wonderful and full of amazing things. Just like Finland! ;) TeeMaa is a recipient of a certificate by Teen ystävät ry. I can wholeheartedly agree with every reason given by Teen ystävät ry for bestowing this honour on TeeMaa. They speak highly of TeeMaa’s large selection and the brewing skill of the owners. They also mention the lovely interior of the shop and the courses and tastings that TeeMaa offers.
The interior of the shop and tea room are decorated with a charming simplicity that is offset beautifully by the selection of available products. There are ceramic bowls and teapots in different colours and styles. And of course, there is tea! Bags of leaves with TeeMaa’s beautiful minimalistic logo line the shelves. Other forms of tea like individually wrapped pearls and powdered matcha are also available.
I decided to order a chai latte, as I’m always looking for good ones. TeeMaa’s chai latte is served in a ceramic mug without a handle, perched on a small wooden tray next to a glass mug of ice cold water. I had been expecting to analyse the flavour as I picked the mug up, but I noticed something else first. Since there was no handle, I needed two hands to lift the mug to my lips. This meant that I had to put down my phone (thus putting aside all distractions) and really concentrate on the tea. Immediately this sets the experience apart in a very positive and enlightening way. Plus, the chai latte was delicious!
I can’t leave my discussion of TeeMaa without mentioning something else that I found there. Matcha KitKats! I’d seen pictures online, but outside of Asia, they are really hard to find. Boy, was I glad to get one here!
Address: Fredrikinkatu 55, Helsinki
As I told the employee behind the counter, I had probably walked by The Ounce for the past five years without going in. I felt terrible about it because every time I saw The Ounce it radiated such an inviting aura. From the outside, you can tell that The Ounce takes its craft seriously. There is an automaton in the window riding a penny farthing and drinking tea. This and the rest of the decor makes The Ounce feel like 19th century English boutique.
The walls are lined with glass jars of tea with imaginative and colourful names. Some outstanding ones are “Irish Whiskey”, “Kielletty hedelmä (Forbidden fruit)”, and “Pariisin valot (Lights of Paris)”. The Ounce assigns a “tea of the week” each week, which you can see on their website. They often offer a sample of their tea of the week outside the shop. Their teas are bursting with fresh flavour.
The tea room in The Ounce is decorated just as sumptuously as the rest of the shop. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the model hot air balloon hanging over one of the tables! The whole room has a colour palette of warm greens and browns, creating a comfortable parlour vibe.
Address: Eerikinkatu 10, Helsinki and Tapionaukio 4, Espoo (Ainoa shopping centre)
théhuone is Finland’s first tea room, opened in 2005. This legacy is apparent by the crowd that greeted me when I walked into the Eerinkatu location. Behind the counter of théhuone were numerous large bags of different kinds of teas. There were Indian teas, Japanese teas, and many more. I don’t know if the various wooden crates stamped with details from tea supplies used to contain actual tea, or were just there for decoration. I’m assuming the former, but they make great decor no matter what. The pre-packaged tea, teapots and teacups for sale added some colour to the room.
théhuone would be a wonderful place to relax and work, or simply take a break from your day. I actually saw a woman sitting in a spot by the window and meditating. She had a tray on the small table in front of her, so she had been drinking tea. But as I walked in she was sitting in a comfortable lotus position with a serene look on her face. I didn’t stay quite as long as she did, but I did make myself comfortable in the seating room with a mango & ginger matcha iced tea.