The waiter brings you a book, and a bell. That’s the first sign that Dobra Tea is different than any other tea shop I’ve ever been in. I have to confess that tea is my weakness. Not just any tea, mind you, but carefully brewed tea … it is the ritual of tea, if you will, that is my weakness. The teapot. The quiet moment of waiting while the leaves steep. The sound of the water pouring into the cup. The feel of the warm steam just before you take your first sip. If this is your weakness as well, then Dobra Tea will become your new favorite place.
The book is the tea menu, and it’s an informative read. They advertise over 100 varieties of loose-leaf tea, and the menu not only lists the teas (broken down by country and region of origin) but also often gives you a bit of history and background of the tea and it’s growing area. Because one does not live on tea alone, the menu also features savory snacks (hummus, veggies & fruits, and a variety of somewhat middle-eastern related tidbits) along with some really beautiful and tasty deserts, including items made locally by Bomb Diggity, Standard Baking, and Catbird Creamery.
The bell is used to summon the wait staff, who are extremely knowledgeable about the teas they serve, and who also are willing to answer even the most basic questions about the wide selection of teas and the rituals that surround the drinking. After your tea has been selected, your waiter brings you a container (a pot or lidded cup) in which your tea is brewing, neatly laid out on a tray with a spoon, your cup, honey, lemon, and everything that makes the ritual of tea as enjoyable as the tea itself.
Your surroundings are an aid to the ritual. Rich carpets line the floor, and you can choose to sit at a tiny table, in a comfortable couch, or – most luxuriously – to lounge shoeless on cushions in a sort of pagoda they have built inside the dining area. The overall atmosphere is is almost spa-like and is a perfect place to read, to relax, to step away from the stress of the day.
One of the things I admire most about Dobra Tea is their devotion to making their space a community space. They recently hosted a Japanese tea tasting and tea ceremony, and they regularly host tea tastings on Friday nights. They also host a knit & stitch night, as well as tarot readings and musical performances.
As we move quickly from winter into spring and summer, you might think that tea season is over. Don’t be fooled. Dobra Tea is will be as as restful a retreat in July as it was in January, and I encourage anyone who needs to take some time away, rest their feet and gather their thoughts to spend some time at Dobra. I guarantee you will walk away feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to enjoy the rest of your day.
Dobra Tea is located at 151 Middle St, in the same building with Bull Moose Music and Videoport. They have a great website, which includes a significant portion of their tea menu. You can also Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. They are open from Monday through Wednesday from 11 am to 9 pm, Thursday through Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. They have a few reviews on Yelp.
Distance from the Maine State Pier:
Still can’t find them? Here’s a map!