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Essencha Tea House & Fine Teas

 (47 reviews)

3212 Madison Rd Cincinnati, Ohio 45209-1326, United States 513-533-4832 Website

Sun 11:00am – 5:00pm Mon 11:00am – 6:00pm Tue 11:00am – 6:00pm Wed 11:00am – 6:00pm Thu 11:00am – 6:00pm Fri 11:00am – 6:00pm Sat 11:00am – 5:00pm
Twice awarded Best of the City in its category by Cincinnati Magazine, and Best Cup of Tea by CityBeat, Essencha is a contemporary tea cafe and tea store which proves the freshest, highest quality teas and exceptional service in a friendly, relaxing, attractive environment. At Essencha, we find joy in the celebration of the mundane, believe in the simple, natural beauty implicit in tea culture, and are eager to share this with you!

Recent reviews

    • Rebekah

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      Fantastic experience! The staff was very friendly and helpful. I asked to be surprised with an iced tea and she asked me a few questions to get an idea of what I may like an defiantly delivered with a perfect choice. My friend also got a hot tea which they were willing to steep multiple times if she wanted more. We also shared matcha mochi with roasted sesame seeds on top. They toasted it and it was excellent. Very Japanese style sweet. Very subtle sweetness to it.

    • Steve D'Amico

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      My daughter and I go to tea every weekend and like trying different places. Essencha is our favorite tea house in Ohio so far and has turned us into 'tea snobs'. The food is always fresh and wonderful with interesting desserts. It's not a 'British' tea house but a modern tea house with a huge variety of teas and knowledgable staff. Highly recommended.

    • JK

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      I have been here several times even though it's not close to where I live. The teas I like most (so far) are their Osmanthus Oolong and Darjeeling (premium) and would recommend the latter if you enjoy slightly fruity black tea. Essencha is small, but has a more modern style which appeals to me over those stuffy Victorian tea rooms. They usually offer 2 sample teas that are self-serve at the counter. The staff is knowledgeable and will gladly let you smell any of the loose teas kept in canisters on a large wall shelf. They carry black, green, and white teas plus herbals and chai. They also off a modest selection of desert type treats and several types of tea pots and accessories. Tea can be purchased and is put into small labeled canisters. (*Don't know if they still do this but, if you bring back your canister for a re-fill they will take a dollar off the price!) Parking can potentially be a pain. They share a small lot behind the building, but it's packed some days and oddly shaped so it can be tricky to navigate with a large vehicle. However, it is totally worth any small hassle! I definitely recommend this tea house!

    • Tanya

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      I took my mother here for a Mother's Day lunch and it ended up being a treat for us both! The server was very attentive and informative. The food was delicious and they offered a large variety of teas for us to taste. What a great experience, I would recommended this place to anyone.

    • Laurie

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      THE best tea house around! I would like to spread the word that their food is EXCELLENT - I would easily rate their menu as 4-star - yes, REALLY! They are thought of primarily for tea, but I'd like to see Essencha stay open a little later for dinner, as they have some of the finest food in the city. Healthy, light fare, appropriately portioned (but no skimping) instead of huge, calorie-packing servings. Their menu delightfully satisfies, but doesn't make you feel stuffed. This is the way everyone should eat. I was stunned at how truly marvelous the food is; fresh and unique, artfully prepared and presented and not pricey! Crepes, sandwiches, soups, salads - and, yes, scones and decadent desserts if you need induldgence! Their mousse is heavenly! The price of coffee is skyrocketing, so embrace loose tea! Throw those horrible teabags away, and drink GOOD tea! Tea bags are full of just 'fannings', which is merely the dust at the 'bottom of the barrel' that all the other countries know doesn't have much flavor, so they put it in bags and sell it in the US, where we don't know any better. Go loose leaf, and I promise you that you won't be able to go back to tea bags! Don't be intimidated - It's not diffucult at all to make, and it will open up a whole new world for you! .. Back to Essencha: Great tea selection and knowledgeable, friendly staff who are glad to educate you on tea should you have questions.

      Tearoom response:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Laurie! Our chefs do deserve good props, so I will share this nice feedback with them.<BR> <BR> We've tried staying open later in the past, but the construction in front of our store has really hurt our biz and we just couldn't afford it anymore, but maybe in the future? Thx again for your support! :)

    • Jeff

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      Love this place!

    • Nicole

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      What a nice change! Keep it up.

    • Todd Kliemann

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      We had a great time at Essencha the other day w/ my friends and family. Everything was fresh, delicious, and beautifully prepared from the teas to the lunch. Love their loose tea selection and bought some to go. Staff was extremely knowledgable and friendly, the best I've seen in the city. Hope this place sticks around a long time!

    • Shanna Singh

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      A wide variety of teas!! You want to make reservations on weekends, but they were able to accommodate 5 of us after 20 minutes. Worth wait. Went back for Asian Afternoon tea. It was wonderful. Soups, sandwiches,crepes, and salads are available. Bountiful loose teas you want to purchase for home. Available in 3 sizes, including economic samplers so you can try several.

    • Patrick

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      This is by far my favorite teahouse and I drive just over 50 miles to get there! I'm somewhat of a regular with the added bonus for myself that Tracy (the owner) started the business as her opening day on my birthday so I have a special affinity for this particular location. The variety of teas offered are quite excellent as is the knowledge and preparation of the teas by the staff. One of my favorite times I was in the shop I'm always looking for her 'new' items so I asked the counter attendant what he'd suggest. He asked if I was into puehr and I jumped at the chance to try one different from my own collection. Ii had a gaiwan of I believe a 1998 raw that offered at least 15 infusions with a chance to just sit back, relax and really savor the subtle nuances of this tea. While that's special it's pretty common for this shop to offer things you may not find elsewhere whether that's the latest tisane seasonal flavor (currently a dried fruit melange called pumpkin spice), an exceptional cup of a fine varietal such as a muscatel darjeeling from a particular plantation in India or just your favorite everyday brew (and even those wonderful white needle teas and a wide selection of greens from various regions) I don't think you'll be disapointed in the knowledge, quality of product and the service. I'm not much of an eater at Essencha but those things I have tried (mostly the dessert range) are quite good. You won't find a HUGE menu but what is there is always nicely presented and of course has a wide variety of tea possibilities to choose with it. I'd suggest going to the website and check out what's on the current menu or call and ask. If this were a movie review I'd give it two thumbs up! ENJOY, you won't be disappointed and it's easy to see why they consistently are listed in the top 500 teahouses.

      Tearoom response:

      Thanks so much, Patrick! It's always a pleasure to see that we're accomplishing what we set out to do, and interested, enthusiastic, warm tea lovers are why we're here. Hope to see you soon!

    • JLR

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      Five stars, everything! I love going to Essencha, partially because I can get delicious miso soup and crepes in the same meal! Not to mention the teas are fantastic. The servers have always been exceptionally nice, and I always look forward to coming back.

    • Sarah & Greg

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      We took our friends here one Sunday for their pancakes & quiche, and fell in love with the place. Everything was perfect, from the care & obvious enthusiasm for their teas, to the friendly servers (sorry I can't remember names, but thanks to all!), to the outstanding food. The decor was warm, modern, and sophisticated without being snooty. We'll be back!

    • Chris Giddings

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      I reviewed this teahouse on my blog not too long ago. http://www.tea-guy.com/2009/02/essencha_teahouse/ It's one of my favorite local places to go. The decor and music are relaxing. The staff is pretty knowledgeable and the tea offered is in a good variety and quality. The food I had was a bit simple, but it was pretty tasty. Overall, I think Essencha is a bit pricy for what you get, but it remains on my list of favored venues as its the ONLY contemporary (non-victorian) teahouse in the area.

    • Sarah

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      I've only been once so far, but on the day I visited, the service was very poor. There seemed to be only one person serving, and service was slow, she forgot to put in one order, then brought the wrong thing to someone else, and just consistently messed up. That said, I will definitely give the place another try because the food and tea were amazing. I'm hoping that was just a fluke. The day we were there, the sample tea was the Spring Gala, which I don't think I ever would have tried based on the description, but which I ended up buying to take home with me because I enjoyed it so much. The samples are a great idea - we can taste new teas without making a commitment.

    • Kristen

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      Updating my prior reviews of Essencha during my December 2008 visits (3 times in one week) and once again marking it excellent. Had a wonderful Darjeeling Muscatel- the organic 2nd flush (2 pots on 2 different visits) and my favorite mango bubble tea. Bought jasime green, darjeeling, wildblueberry and pacific breeze green to take home. I was so glad to see it busy, yet still with the nice restful atmosphere that makes me grateful to come here with my book on a break from my 2 yr old. I don't know what to say about the few service complaints on this board except that no one can please everyone all the time, I suppose. I just cannot imagine a nicer place to visit. I'll be back in Feb, my next viist to Cinti!

    • NW

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      This is a wonderful place. I have recently discovered it and have been there to eat and drink tea and to purchase tins of tea. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. I felt very comfortable asking questions about the various items for purchase, even when I wasn't sure what they were. I had a tuna salad sandwich that was out of this world. I would highly recommend this tea house. They're going to start serving breakfast this Sunday. Can't wait.

      Tearoom response:

      Thanks, so much NW, and everyone else taking time out of your busy lives to write some kind and thoughtful words! I'll ignore the dubious reviews that keep the consistent theme of someone being on a phone call or whatever, but everyone should know that we do have to take guest calls from time to time when we make reservations! :) Please join us Sundays for breakfast--it'll be fun!

    • Kenya

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      Seeking a warm drink on a cold winter day I stopped in with my husband. Although we were the only guests we were not greeted for at least 5 minutes, the staff on duty was more concerned with their personal phone call then our experience. We left about 10 minutes later after she didn't return to take our order.

    • Rigdon

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      I have been twice and both times had a '93 Pu-erh that was excellent. I also had a lapsang souchong and the masala chai, both of which were good. The food is ok. I do wish there were more 'normal' food options.

    • Ashley C.

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      Great place for avid tea drinkers and the newbies. The food was amazing and the deserts we unbelievable. I highly recommend the Belgian Waffle with Strawberry gelato on top! Everyone in our party order a different tea and enjoyed sharing the pots around. They also offered to re-infuse the tea which was very nice and definitely needed. The service was extremely knowledgeable and helped with all of our needs.

    • Kristen

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      I've been to Essencha several times in the last two years, although I live in Minneapolis. My most recent trip was in July 2008. It's a wonderful, wonderful spot. The server staff has been consistently courteous, the atmosphere serene and enjoyable, and the teas (and tea recommendations) fabulous. I have also ordered tea online from Essencha, and been happy with what arrived and how it was handled. I was searching for a tea house elsewhere and came across this website, and could not resist the urge to look up and see what was said about Essencha and add my own 2 cents. I truly do not see how the few negative comments on this list could be accurate - the fact that both seem to highlight 'high school age' servers suggests to me something odd about their reviews. Although I am not privileged to get to Essencha more often than a couple times of year, what I have seen of the place and from chatting with the owner, it simply isn't believable for such servers and indifference to have happened. Perhaps the reviewers mistakenly entered their reviews in the wrong place. Needless to say, I am looking forward to my next visit in December.

    • Katharine

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      I have visited Essencha a few times over the past four or five months, I'm not a regular by any means...but I live within a reasonable distance and I will stop in if I find myself with some free time and I am in the area. That being said--I have ordered different teas and diffent foods each time and have not been disappointed yet! The staff does a great job of recommending teas and are always happy to send me off with a tiny tin to make my own tea at home.

    • Jason Cohen

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      We made reservations after reading an article in the paper about this place a couple of weeks ago, and the experience exceeded our expectations in every way. I had the veggie crepe, and my friend had the soup/sandwich combo, and both were wonderful. We loved our tea choices too, and will def. be back soon! Recommended.

    • Jessica Brynes

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      The first time I visited Essencha I was alone. I have since brought family and friends to share the experience with. Every time I go it is simply wonderful. My sister and I love the bubble tea and the variety of Rooibos teas they carry. It something we haven't been able to find a lot of since Essencha.

    • Suzanne Arnold

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      I have been to many tea rooms in the country and this one is by far the most excellent in all catagories I have vistied. When I am in Cincinnati, I will certainly return again. It was so relaxing and the staff was amazing, interpreting my every need. The food presented was fresh and tastefully presented. (Pardon the pun!)The tea selection was incredible with so many to choose from. On this particular hot and sultry afternoon, my friend and I chose to drink iced tea starting with a jasmine base. How delicious! Essencha gets a five star rating from me!

    • Tara Combs

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      I think Cincinnati Magazine was seriously mistaken when they recommended this tea house. The high school age servers could not have been more indifferent to the service they gave my mother-in-law and I on our visit last week. The food was bland, the tea was cold, the atmosphere was uninspired and the entire experience was forgettable. I won't be back.

      Tearoom response:

      We're very sorry we didn't deliver, Tara, and would have welcomed your comments in the store had you given us a chance to make your experience right, as it's our policy to not let anyone leave unhappy. <BR> <BR> The youngest person that could've serviced you last week was 25, the avg. age of our staff is 29, so I'm wondering what the truth is here with regards to your comments.

    • K.

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      The food was cold, the tea was mediocre. I was served by high school age girls who spent most of the time on their cell phones and could have been working in a fast food restaurant. I'll never go back and wouldn't recommend it at all.

      Tearoom response:

      'K,' a bit more info would provide the readers with more detail. We have no high school students on our staff, everyone well past that age, and no staff member is allowed to use their cell phones in the cafe in view of guests. That said, had you extended us the opportunity to fix your tea, if indeed you really visited us, we would've gladly done so.

    • Christophe

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      We've been regulars at Essencha for about a year now and have yet to be disappointed. No one else in town serves tea with such care and warmth. One of the things we love about the place is that it feels at once modern yet comfy there. Right now, we're loving the pumpkin scones, eel bowl, and pumpkin spice tea. Recommended!

    • Diane

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      What a great place. Service was super friendly, the tea selection was fantastic ( I can't drink caffeine, and I felt like I had alot of choices), the food was very tasty, and as silly as it sounds, the vanilla lavender cupcake I had for dessert was so good, I almost cried. I am looking forward to my next visit!

    • Steve

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      A truly delightful place. From the amazing selection of teas (over 80 teas), healthy food (home made soups, salads and sandwiches) and awesome deserts, Essencha has nailed it down! Since Essencha has opened, I have been a regular. I am a tea fanatic and have frequented many teahouse both in the area and out of state before. But Essencha's teas are sublime and have no match. The staff is very knowledgable and is always eager to help and suggest new teas. I've also been to their tea tasting events such as tea 101 and always learned more about tea than I ever thought I knew. Keep up the good work! Cincinnati needs you!

    • Shri

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      Being originally from India, I have tasted a variety of Tea and for once after coming to USA and Cincinnati, I was able to find the 'Real Tea' (thanks to Essencha and the Owner -- Tracy). Their Tulasi Apple makes a Great Iced Healthy drink for the warm summer weather and their Rooibos/ Black and Green are all wonderful choices. Their Mantra Chai will be nice and soothing for the upcoming cold weather. The Restaurant is one of the better places to hang out and I' am glad we have a place like Essencha in Cincinnati.

    • Daryl

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      I enjoyed the feel of the dining room. My server was very informative about the teas I was served and where they where from and answered all my question about the menu items. I loved the bubble teas as well as the Cinnamon Orange Spice. Every time I come in I find a new favorate.

    • Cindy

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      Whether soaking in the ambience of the cafe or at home in my PJ's, drinking Essencha Teas are my favorite way to relax, restore and regenerate. Love the bubble teas too - and so do my kids! I am partial to Roobios (hearty and bold without any bitterness) but I enjoy green tea, chai and black teas as well. When you have a cold, nothing is better than the Cinnamon Orange Spice. The Tulsi Apple Pear makes the BEST iced tea I have ever had and I grew up in the south.

    • Todd

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      I went to Essencha today. Its a rainy afternoon, so this turned out to be a get place to be. The dining room was almost full but I enjoyed feel of the place. The music was nice. My tea was hot and brewed properly, my food arrived quickly and tasted great. My server was very informative about the teas and where they are from and answered my questions about the menu items very well. I am glad we have Essencha in Cincinnati!

    • John S.

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      With their wonderful selection of fine teas (literally, a wall of tea!), and with their open, friendly atmosphere and attention to detail, Essencha is a pleasure to frequent for anyone wanting to explore and enjoy the world of tea. Their sandwiches, salads, crepes, and soups (I think some of the tastiest in town) - all made in-house and all very good - round out the experience, whether it be for lunch, dinner, or just a snack. ...Oh...and did I mention the desserts? Wow! Cincinnati is lucky to have a tea room like Essencha.

    • Paulynn Lorenzo

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      I am overcome by a sense of positive energy from the moment I set foot in Essencha. Not one detail is missed. From the variety of teas and the food menu to the simple yet beautiful decor, Essencha is a place to enjoy for yourself when you want 'me' time, a place to chat with a stranger if you want to have a snack at the bar, or a time to appreciate friends when you want to enjoy their afternoon tea.

    • Lucy

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      What a treat! We loved everyone and everything about it (we were disappointed in the Bubble Tea, but were told it may not have been prepared properly). Next time, we'll try it again and see what happens. Wonderful Food, Wonderful Service - Great fun. We'll be back.

    • Linda

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      Not as relaxing as I thought it was going to be. A little too trendy for me.

    • Kellie

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      I love Essencha so much I am there at least a couple times a week. The tea is brewed to perfection each time in beautiful glass mugs and pots. The food is great and served beautifully. No matter what day it is the soup of the day is wonderful. The staff is wonderful! They are so friendly and have taught me so much about tea. I have all my friends hooked on Essencha as well. Essencha truely is the best teahouse in Cincinnati!

    • Mary Ann

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      You have to try the tea with bubbles! The food is excellent and beautifully presented.

      Tearoom response:

      Thanks so much Mary Ann (and everyone else!) for taking the time to review our teahouse! Your feedback means a great deal to us, and we are truly grateful and humbled by the marvelous response to tea we've encountered.<BR> Thanks!!

    • Kathleen Koller

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      I am a frequent visitor of Essencha Tea House, everyday since they've opened. Tracey, the owner knows so much about tea and tea culture. She brings with this knowledge, passion and enthusiasm, as do all who work there. The atmosphere is calming, and the traditional tea ceremonies and presentation are intriging. You walk away wanting to come back to learn and experience more!

    • Meagan

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      I've been to many tea rooms and this is my favorite by far. I am from Cincinnati and this will be my new hang out. If you only try one tea room in this city try Essencha!

    • Holly

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      I was amazed at the variety of teas available. The menu not only listed, but educated about each tea. A great change from typical tea houses

    • Bridget

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      Absolutely incredible experience! This should be a new American tradition. Bravo!!!!!!!!!

    • Tracy Jo Duckworth

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      My visit was delightful, the attention to detail was amazing. Cool place to just kick back! Don't miss the scones!

    • Olivia Schaefer

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      I thouroghly enjoyed my visit to Essencha Tea House. The staff was courteous and helpful. I am not a long-time tea drinker, so I was looking for some much-needed advice. I totally enjoyed the recommendation I was given. My lunch and pastries were also delicious. And the ambiance was delightful. I'll be back!!

    • Tira Rogers

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      Charming but casual interior matches perfectly with the superior but unpretentious quality of tea and service. Love the miso soup!

    • Jason Martin

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      First of its kind in Cincy. Excellent teas and service. New favorite hangout.