Earth & Tea Cafe

Brent Finnegan -- January 29th, 2007

I’ve been there a few times since it’s opened — twice for tea and once for lunch.

Since I drink far more tea than coffee, I like to think I know something about it, but one look at the tea menu, and I was lost. Settled on Fruity Russian Caravan (mainly because the name). I probably don’t have the sharpest palate, because it was hard to distinguish anything fruity or Russian, but I enjoyed it.

The food menu has several agreeable vegetarian (possibly vegan?) options available. I had tabouli, mango salad, and Marakash mash soup from A Bowl of Good. All were as good or better than expected. The presentation was impressive, too: all thoughtfully arranged, rather than tossed together.

The atmosphere is great: smart choice of color and decor. With a mix of tables, couches, and a middle eastern style corner perch, the place has a warm, relaxing vibe, much more inviting than most of the coffeehouses in town. I saw several college groups there studying, in no hurry to leave.

The only negative thing I’ve heard about it is that the service is a bit slow; but I either didn’t experience it, or didn’t notice because I wasn’t in a rush.

Oh, and the smokeless environment is a huge plus.

-finnegan

24 Responses to “Earth & Tea Cafe”

  1. chris says:

    Everything about this place is excellent. I think maybe they should add some dinner items to the menu that go along with their Mediterranean theme. For example: a tagine or paella.

  2. andy says:

    My friend Alan belonged to a ‘fruity Russian caravan’ during his hippie days in the 1960’s. He says those carefree days were some of the best days of his life. His only complaint was that he was often too cold.

  3. Josh says:

    I’ve been to Earth & Tea once. I had the sandwich sampler and my companion had a turkey wrap. We both enjoyed our food. We shared a pot of Tiramisu Mate, one of the most fragrant teas I’ve ever had. I like the menu because it’s short and sweet and not suffering from the menu bloat all over town.

    The service was sort of slow and inconsistent when we were there but it was the first week, so I wouldn’t hold that against them. The manager was apologetic about our wait and went out of his way to make sure we got our food fast(er).

    I was told a website is in the works.

    Highly recommended. Doesn’t conflict with the Dodger, the tea room, daily grind or anything. This place is a unique experience all of it’s own.

  4. finnegan says:

    Yes, a website would be good (or maybe a blog?)… As would a list of descriptions of the teas on the menu.

  5. ktr001 says:

    I had my first Earth & Tea experience today and was for the most part impressed. It is a very cool atmosphere. I liked that you could sit at a table, in a chair or grab a table and sit on comfy pillows on the floor. The service, however, was slow and inconsistent as Josh noted above. My friend and I came in to study and all the open tables were littered with dirty dishes. The dirty dishes there when we came in were still there, along with our dirty ones, when we left. ALso, we ordered a pot of chai, and the girl who took our order apparently split right afterward because 25 min. later we didn’t have our tea! Then, we had to have green chai because no one there knew how to make the traditional chai with milk.

    It’s a cool place, and I’ll go back, though. I’m sure it’s like with any new business — the small kinks will work themselves out through experience.

  6. doubletree dan says:

    The newspaper reported that the owner DID NOT have any permits for the work that was done to the electrical or plumbing systems. Plus no “occupany permit” was sought nor was the building inspected by the health department WHICH IS A MUST, nor the building inspector.

    Probably going to be awhile, but the guy can’t use “lack of knowledge” ignorance plea. A few phone calls and questions would have prevented a huge disaster.

  7. ALADIN says:

    THIS MESSAGE TO ANYONE INTERESTED HELPING OUT A STARTOUT BIZ TEA/HOOKAH CAFE AND NOT LIPTON TEAS LIKE OTHER PLACES IN TOWN I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A SERVEY OF WHAT PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IN THIS AREA ANYONE THAT CAN HELP ME GET THIS GOING I WOULD GREATLY APPRITIATE IT PLEASE EMAIL ME AT FLYINGCARPETCAFE@AOL.COM WITH ANY SUGGESTIONS THANK YOU

  8. Laura McAnderson says:

    I ventured in to Earth and Tea cafe the other day expecting a good meal in a relaxed atmosphere. Instead I experienced terrible service as soon as I walked in, the servers were reading magazines on the couch while there were three tables yet to be bussed. The waitress was incompetent, slow and unpleasant. When I ordered the hummus and pita tapa I found that the cucumbers and tomotoes were stale, and there was a hair in the hummus. In addition, the tea was terriblly overbrewed and tasted no better than a Lipton tea bag. I would not recommend this cafe to anyone, save your money and immune system and go check out somewhere else.

  9. David Miller says:

    Laura

    I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience. I’ve enjoyed my visits to the cafe but to each their “own”. Your “own” being a much more extreme criticism of a new restaurant than most.

  10. Emmy says:

    Wow, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I’ve eaten there several times and while I will say that the service was very slow, the food has always been fantastic.

  11. Erndog says:

    CLARIFICATION. In the first couple of weeks after Earth and Tea Cafe opened in 2007, A Bowl of Good soups WERE being served. Good vibes and positive responses to the soups were reported. However, that was a LONG, LONG time ago. A Bowl of Good does NOT and has NOT supplied any of the food products at Earth and Tea Cafe since that brief opening period in January of 2007.

  12. Tina says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the food and teas, but most times I’ve been there, the service has been poor and very slow. Hopefully the day Laura was there was just one especially bad time and isn’t the trend.

    As far as A Bowl of Good soups, they are terrific! (Good bread, too)

  13. David Miller says:

    Ernie

    Don’t worry, this article was written and posted in January of 2007 when they first opened. The only reason it popped back on the radar was because Laura posted to it to post about her experience.

  14. Erndog says:

    David
    I just ran into another person on Wednesday that thought A Bowl of Good sells it’s soup at Earth & Tea Cafe – not sure how or why this assumption persists. Seemed like as good as time as any to clarify. I guess it can’t be allowed on this site to say where her products are available, even if it will bring people downtown to the Farmers Market on Saturday a.m.?

  15. David Miller says:

    Ernie

    I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to clarify, I only wanted to draw the date of the article to your attention.

  16. Erndog says:

    Thanks for noting the date – I did originally see that date but you can understand how others may not have noted the difference. I am not used to posting on this site. My original comment and posting included a reference to where A Bowl of Good soups are available, and for some reason that did not make it. Every Saturday A Bowl of Good soups, stews, breads, hummus, cookies and other items are available at the growing, Downtown Harrisonburg Farmers Market. Further information and other locations for availability can be found at http://www.abowlofgood.com

  17. David Miller says:

    Ernie, I can sympathize. A while back I started posting comments on a article long since its prime that had been refreshed with a ping back (I still don’t know what that is). I went back into the whole subject until someone informed me that the article was ages old.

    I cannot wait for the pavilion. Every Saturday is such a joy. Walking around, watching all of the smiling residents enjoying the morning. So many great patrons and vendors mixing.

  18. Emmy says:

    Ernie, comments are very rarely sucked into moderation and if they are it is usually because the person hasn’t posted before or a link is included in the post. Sometimes things get sucked into the spam filter too. If you don’t see a post, just ask about it and one of us will go look for it. As long as people follow the few rules posted, comments are pulled out of moderation.

  19. Lowell says:

    I suppose I’m not as refined as everyone else because I really like Dave’s, I think the portions at Clementine are fine, and I think Earth and Tea is a great place to dine with a very laid back atmosphere. I also really like the Dodger and Calhoun’s (I refuse to call it by any other name) provides for a niche of its own quite well as does Jess’s and the shop formerly known as Daily Grind does much the same.
    But that’s from a regular guy who also likes Coors Banquet Beer, Wild Turkey, and most any reasonable wine so my palate isn’t really all that sophisticated and my expectations are really working class. That’s why I give good tips, I know servers and cooks and other restaurant employees work really hard and have their bills to pay just like I do. Know what? I always seem to get great service too. At all of the above mentioned places. I also like Saigon Cafe, the Italian place next door, the Japanese place next to that, and most every Chinese restaurant in the area is great. Francisco’s does a wonderful job (in the burg as well as Broadway) as does Bravo’s, just on different style levels, and Romano’s in McGaheysville is also very nice. Hank’s kicks butt and Smokin’ Pig is, well… Smokin’. Mr. J’s is always enjoyable, at any location and the folks at Thunderbird make the experience there well worth your time and money. Ciro’s has always been one of my favorite pizzas as it reminds me of what I get in those little shops just down the street from Madison Square Garden. And I’m really glad to see Little Caesar’s is back. I have a special fondness for them because when our girls were little we used to get “pizza pizza” to watch TGIF shows every Friday. (Not to mention for NASCAR races on Sunday) One place I really miss although I didn’t really become aware of it until not long before they closed their doors was the outstanding Kitchen Classics shop on the corner of University and Reservoir. Oh yes, and the sandwich shop at the Hardesty Higgins House is a treat.
    I’ve only eaten in the Wilton House once, long ago, and I don’t expect to dine at 56, or 64, (or whatever the heck the number is) but that’s just me, too much of a Democrat I guess.
    All in all I think I am blessed to have so many wonderful choices in the area owned and operated by folks who really care and work so very hard to make mine and my family’s experience an enjoyable one when we dine outside our own kitchen. But I must say that Canadian Dianne’s cuisine far surpasses any other experience.

  20. Erndog says:

    Thanks Emmy. I’m learning!

  21. Draegn88 says:

    I ate at the Earth and Tea Cafe yesterday. I liked it. They really pile on the portions. It’s reasonably priced.

  22. gelly says:

    earth and tea cafe is really good the food is the best in harrisonburg ,i love the cuban sandwich ,the iced tea ,the brasilian coconut soups is fantastic i love ,i love earth and tea .10 for theirs .

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