Wine Tea Chocolate

Seeking a new destination for a new year? Look no further than Wine Tea Chocolate, located just off the beaten track at 3417 Evanston Avenue across from the Fremont Rocket. Opened in September 2012, this culturally-savvy café has handpicked the best of their namesake from around the world and brought them home to this cozy corner window-front.

Expansive shelves behind a hand-finished counter display countless stainless-steel tea canisters, each with their own pungent aroma and exotic passport stamp. This sprawling tea selection offers over 100 fine varieties drawn from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, Japan, Korea, and Kenya, as well as herbal teas. Guaranteed winners include the Ginger Peach blend and the Taiwanese Li Shan Oolong. A cup will put you out just $3.00 (12 ounces), or you can order a pot, supplying upwards of four cups, for $4.00 and stay all day.

The atmosphere here is ideal for lingering. A raised ceiling leaves painted pipes and utilities exposed and warm light seeps from mosaic fixtures. Seating is abundant and ranges from dark-stained café tables, salvaged from a 100-year-old reclaimed fir tree, to window perches at the bar, which was salvaged from a local downed tree and finished by hand. Three semi-circle booths upholstered in deep red are perfect for intimate conversation or a long afternoon of homework.

And while the teas may have come from around the world, WTC’s other offerings are from closer to home. This commitment to local growers and businesses is reflected in featured sandwiches and wraps from Molly’s, a Seattle company specializing in small-batch foods from organic and locally sourced ingredients delivered daily.

Perhaps the most popular item on the menu is the gourmet grilled cheese, invented daily and served between slices of thick Macrina bread ($6.00). Multiple visits have yielded goat cheese and roasted red bell peppers, melted Fontina and fig spread, and Fontina with balsamic onions and arugula. Produce is sourced from local Northwest growers.

If you’re looking for a light snack, don’t hesitate to try the Truffle Popcorn, an overflowing bowl of freshly popped organic munchies, perfectly zested with white truffle oil, truffle salt, and ground black pepper ($5.00). Flavorful but not greasy or soggy, this treat is practically movie-worthy.

Per the name, chocolate is also a passion. Gourmet chocolate bars are sourced from as far as Sao Tome and Principe and Vietnam, but WTC’s primary local purveyor is Theo Chocolate, visible from the stoop. WTC carries Theo’s trademark truffles and candies, but adds a twist of their own as well: a trio of home-made truffles combining Theo’s dark chocolate with Syrah, Caffe Vita espresso, and Green Matcha ($6.00).

Or if liquid temptation is more your style, try WTC’s heavenly Meso-American sipping chocolate, an in-house concoction of Theo 85% chocolate, coconut milk, almond milk, agave syrup, orange oil, and fiery spices ($4.00). Served warm in a demitasse cup, this draught fit for the gods is dense enough to require a spoon.

The local goodness doesn’t stop there. Caffeine-addicts are well-looked-after here with a full espresso menu featuring local brewer Caffe Vita’s Del Sol espresso blend. For chai aficionados, WTC’s creation may top the list with its house-made blend of Rooibos chai, six spices, and fresh ginger steeped in a large pot (12 ounce, $3.25).

Both Macrina Bakery and The Flying Apron supply a selection of pastries, the latter of which are vegan and gluten-free.

WTC is passionate not only about their diverse and well-chosen offerings, but about sharing and educating the local community. They offer a number of pairing classes and coffee tastings featuring local suppliers, and an upcoming class Friday January 18 on the history and evolution of cacao and chocolate (7:00-8:30pm, $20.00).

The café opens at 8:00am weekdays and 9:00am on the weekend; happy hour (5:00-7:00pm, all day Monday) features reduced prices on teas, chocolates, and more. If you’re lucky, you may catch a free tasting day with one of several Seattle artisans or brewers. WTC also hosts local musicians like Andre Feriante (Mondays at 7:30pm, Spanish guitar) and tango dance lessons.

It’s rare for a café to pull together the exotic and the native so effortlessly, but within a charming and sophisticated atmosphere, Wine Tea Chocolate manages to bring the best of all worlds together. Lucky for us, we don’t even have to leave the neighborhood.

Published 16 January 2013 in The Falcon as “New Fremont cafe’s name sums it up”

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