24 Dec High Garden
Great selection, great people there to help out, and an awesomely unique experience. Just be sure to watch out so you don't drive right past it!
In Search of a Proper Tea Shop
Back when I lived in Illinois, the nearest “big” city was St. Louis. Being one drawn to the energy of the city, along with the myriad of activities it offered, I spent as much time as my schedule and budget would allow up there. Some of my most fond memories are of visiting the many unique restaurants, cafes, bars, and bistros that speak to your eyes, ears, and taste buds with bold, authentic, unique, one-of-a-kind, charismatic voices, many of them bringing an international flavor. Now that I’m in Nashville and so much closer to all that the city has to offer, I’m on an almost daily mission to discover the Nashville counterparts and share the best of the best with you all. This starts with a search for a proper tea shop.
In St. Louis, near Tower Grove Park there is a place called The London Tea Room. I’ve been scouring my photos to see if I have any interior shots I’ve taken there, but didn’t come across any. Naturally, once I moved to Nashville, I had to find the equivalent. While High Garden on Woodland in East Nashville doesn’t have the whole London vibe to it, it’s vibe speaks to me with that same unique voice that all the places I remember in St. Louis did. Everything about the atmosphere inside is clearly deliberate, and very harmonious.
As you walk in, your olfactory senses are warmly greeted by a cacophony of flowers, herbs, fruits, and teas from all over the world. The scent is never overwhelming; persistent yet soothing. The lighting is warm, and the atmosphere is the very definition of “hygge”, with a unique Lord of the Rings-esque interpretation. Natural unfinished wood, tree branches, moss, and all kinds of other forest notions adorn the interior. Clad to the walls are shelves upon shelves of apothecary style jars of all shapes and sizes, embellished with handwritten labels indicating what they hold inside.
As one of the few tea shops in the entire Nashville area, it may come as no surprise that having a monopoly on the fresh tea market means that the foot traffic supports having a huge selection. Thank goodness for this fact, because it enables High Garden to be a place you will never grow “bored” of; the moment you think you’ve gotten all you can afford to take, you’ll see something else and be tempted to sample and get some of this, that, and that one over there as well. In addition to teas of every variety, High Garden is also noted for their selection of herbal blends and ferments, something that I am admittedly not all that knowledgable on.
What We Bought
My brother, Chris, was along with me the day that I visited High Garden, and we saw this as a perfect opportunity to get some great holiday gifts for people. We’ve since had the chance to share some of those with the people they were gifted to, as well as some blends that we bought for our own enjoyment. I can confidently say that these teas are the real deal. The Russian Caravan is a smoky lapsang souchong, a black tea that is typically dried over pinewood fires and often enjoyed by coffee drinkers who aren’t a fan of tea. The Tobacco Black was one that caught my eye (and nose) immediately. Dried and infused with Ceremonial Tobacco, and scented for three months, it has an intoxicating vanilla pipe tobacco scent layered on top of a smooth black gold tea leaf aroma. The brewed result, sweetened with just a touch of orange blossom honey, is, unsurprisingly, quite addictive. Other varieties tasted and enjoyed include Tennessee Honeysuckle, Buckingham Palace Garden Party, and Saigon Apple Rooibos.
As with most custom-blended drinks, you’re going to pay more than the grocery store standard. As a value-minded shopper, I am thrilled with what I get from High Garden. Pricing is very reasonable, with most teas coming in around $4 per ounce, which according to the staff is enough for 4-5 cups. Compared to what some people will pay for coffee at Starbucks, or even Keurig at home, this is an excellent value, and having all the ambiance and charm-filled branding to enjoy along with the tea, it’s a small price that I’m glad to pay.
If you appreciate unique, home-grown ideas, much as I do, High Garden is a place you should make a stop by. Locally-owned small businesses like this are crucial and vital to the economic success of Nashville, far beyond any means of my ability to convince you. Corporations are great if you shop on price, but life isn’t much to enjoy with lifeless, predictable commodities. What High Garden offers isn’t just an experience, but something to share with others, and a means to forge human connections. Food and drink are powerful things, and in my mind, each and every one of these blends has the potential to be at the cornerstone of great memories made in their midst.
[Google_Maps_WD id=1 map=1]