Tea Time in Boulder: Dushanbe Prepares for 2011 Rocky Mountain Tea Festival


Actually, I began tea time with an “orange blossom mojito” at the famous Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a unique Persian-style building which was a gift to the people of Boulder from our sister city in Tajikistan, and is Boulder’s top tourist attraction. Dushanbe is a restaurant and teahouse with a fascinating back story and an innovative team of chefs and tea-lovers preparing the menu. My wife and I had been there for a few weddings, but never for a proper afternoon tea.


Owners Lenny and Sara Martinelli welcomed us. Chef Lenny discussed the menu which includes Tajik homecooking and foods from all over the world, plus their famed tea tower. Sara and Lenny also run a farm. And several more restaurants.
That orange blossom drink was one of many tea-infused cocktails, and it was merely a gateway to a series of hot green teas and even a half cup of precious Chinese pu-erh. Earthy and real.

Having traveled and volunteered abroad in tea producing villages in India and Sri Lanka, my wife and I felt connected to our travels with each sip, even though we were right at home in Boulder. The tower came next with desserts, fruits, sweets, and samosas. Outside, a circle of adults and small children danced in a circle on the square, where the food court is on farmer’s market days.

“They’re there every week,” said Sara. Free folk dancing. I love that Boulder can still surprise.

boulder_tea659.jpegDushanbe is hosting the 2011 Rocky Mountain Tea Festival, a perfect excuse to travel to Boulder to be immersed in tea. If Boulder Creek comes down by then, you can go tubing to stay cool before or after the tea sessions and festival.

This was our first proper cup of tea since one cold, misty night in Darjeeling, and we savored it before heading home on the bus.


More from Joshua Berman
Children of the Chinandega dump in northwestern Nicaragua, images by photojournalist Jon Goering
While working/traveling in Nicaragua last July, I was fortunate to cross paths...
Read More