12th Annual Rocky Mountain Tea Festival

12th Annual Rocky Mountain Tea Festival

Dushanbe Tea House, nestled on Canyon and 13th downtown is amongst one of the top tourist attractions in downtown Boulder.

How could it not be?

Rooted in deep history and culture, the entire downtown Dushanbe Tea House was made entirely by hand (no power tools) over the course of two years, in Boulder’s “sister city”, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It was then shipped across the world to Boulder in pieces.

Of the 12 columns in the tea house, none are alike while the entire paint and Persian art is custom.

Lenny and Sara Martinelli have had the tea house for 8 years and are no stranger to the restaurant business. They also own and run Leaf Vegetarian, Aji Latin American Restaurant, Zucca Italian Ristorante, The Naropa Cafe, The Huckleberry, Boulder Tea Company, a new farm where most of their produce is now coming from (Three Leaf Farms) and a catering business all under the Three Leaf Concepts restaurant umbrella.

Lenny is a chef, who has worked every part of the restaurant business since he was 16 years old. With a degree in architecture, Lenny muses that he uses his degree (a little) as he has designed each kitchen in his restaurants himself.

Sara is a certified herbalist who hand picks all the restaurant’s wines and the extensive, worldy tea list (over 100 on their tea menu) for Dushanabe. Sara even blends many of the teas herself. She also handles the creative design for Three Leaf Concepts.

Their knowledge and businesses are impressive and I always have a soft spot for husband and wife teams. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both incredibly gracious, humble and warm.

Check out some of our delicious scones, cucumber sandwiches, tea, desserts and mojito’s from our afternoon tea. Note: A traditional afternoon tea is served daily with advance reservations for $18.95 per person (see below).

Lemon creme.  Raspberry granache. Fruit tart.

Green tea (from China) blended lemongrass, lemon peel, lemon balm, sugar, mint muddle – blossom mojito.

Peashoot salad, fresh cheese (made in house) and a walnut pesto, balsamic vinaigrette

Chicken salad and cucumber artichoke sandwiches, scones, green lotus tea produced in a monastery in Northern China grown by monks, lemon curd and devonshire cream. Afternoon tea delight.

Rocky Mountain Tea Festival:

Twelve years ago, Sara and Lenny were inspired to start a tea festival for tea-lovers to dive deeper, learn more and taste their favorite beverages.

Sara Martinelli reflects on the growth and expansion of the festival remembering, “We invited a number of speakers and industry leaders to teach seminars, workshops and host tastings. The response was gratifyingly strong, and the Tea Festival became an annual tradition. As the Tea Festival grew, we were able to expand to include more seminars, a handmade teapot exhibit, a Tea Dinner, a small bazaar, and the popular Teddy Bear Children’s Tea Parties.”

The festival (a non-profit event) is being held at Boulder Dushanbe Tea House 1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado, Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th.

When asking Sara what she is most looking forward to at the festival she highlighted the workshop on Puerh tea led by David Lee Hoffman of the Phoenix Collection Tea Company based in Langunitas, California.

“Mr. Hoffman is recognized as an expert on Puerh teas, and his workshops always offer a one-of-a-kind experience into this little understood style of tea,” Sara explains. Puerh teas are known for their complex flavor profile and enhanced health benefits.

I’m particularly excited about Saturday the 23rd for their four-course Tea Dinner, as all dishes are prepared with tea. Reservations are recommended, call: 303.442.4993.

To learn more about the upcoming tea festival: http://www.boulderteahouse.com/teafest.html

To register or reserve space at specific workshops or seminars, call: 303.442.4993. Tell them I sent you!

The tea house is open 8 AM-9 PM daily. Find them: http://www.boulderteahouse.com

Disclosure: I was invited as a guest to Dushanbe Tea House and received a complimentary meal and afternoon tea. All opinions (as always), are my own.