PORT TOWNSEND — Pippa’s Real Tea in Port Townsend is determined to bring Americans back to their tea-drinking roots.
The Seattle A-List, created by CityVoter, named the tea shop Best Tea House in the Seattle area for the second year in a row last week, which corresponded with Pippa’s five-year anniversary.
While Pippa’s has topped the Seattle A-List two years running, a number of North Olympic Peninsula businesses cracked the top five in several categories.
In Sequim, the Olympic Game Farm came in fourth for fun places for kids and Dungeness Kids Co. was voted third best place for children’s clothing.
In the food and drink categories, a number of Sequim businesses made the top five: Wind Rose Cellars was voted third best winery, Maggie May’s Espresso and Outfitter was third in the food trucks category, and Blondie’s Plate in Sequim was voted fifth for tapas.
Next Door Gastropub in Port Angeles was the third favorite trendy bar.
The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim was the top voted golf course, and That Takes the Cake, also in Sequim, snagged three titles — coming in first for best cupcakes and best desserts, and third for best wedding cake.
Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery was voted fourth best cheese shop, and Port Angeles’ Port Scandalous Roller Derby team was voted third best roller derby team.
Pippa’s Real Tea’s proprietors — Mills and her husband, Dan Meyerson — moved to Port Townsend five years ago from New York City.
“I always knew I wanted to open a tea shop, but I didn’t want to do it in New York City,” Mills said.
The couple had been frequent visitors to Port Townsend and vacationed here every year for 10 years before making the move west.
“We always knew Port Townsend would be the perfect place to open a shop,” Mills said.
They bought the building that now houses Pippa’s Real Tea at 636 Water St., where Mills set up the tea room, complete with a fireplace inside for the winter and a back patio for the summer.
Mills even planted the tea plant camellia sinensis, which she hopes to harvest tea leaves and buds from next year.
Mills grew up in Australia, where she said “tea is just a part of everyday life.”
“When I came to the United States in the ’80s and couldn’t get a good cup of tea, I knew I had to do something.”
Mills was living in New York City but visited London often and would bring tea back for herself and her friends.
“They loved it,” Mills said. “They were amazed, but that’s real tea, not the stuff in the bag you drink when you’re sick.”
Mills said her goal is to bring Americans back to their tea-drinking roots. The United States started as Dutch and British colonies, both of which had well-established tea traditions.
“After you all threw it into the harbor in Boston, it all kind of went to pot,” Mills said. “For a while there, it became unpatriotic to drink tea.”
However, it appears American have become receptive to the drink — at least in Port Townsend — because Mills said she’s seen her sales increase by 30 percent since last year, and she saw a 20 percent increase between 2015 and 2016.
“People in Port Townsend bring their out-of-town guests here,” Mills said. “This is becoming one of the things to do in Port Townsend, like going to the Northwest Maritime Center or the Pourhouse or Blue Moose for breakfast: People come to Pippa’s for tea.”
To celebrate the shop’s fifth anniversary Mills said the shop will offer free shipping in October. She is planning a tea party in the last week of September with free tea and scones with jam and clotted cream.
“That’s for our dedicated local customers,” Mills said.
Mills also plans to make a cookbook with recipes for some of the treats made and served at Pippa’s.
“My next mission is to bring homemade clotted cream to the U.S.,” Mills said.
The award for Pippa’s was from Seattle A-List, an online business contest on the CityVoter Blog, which complies a list every year of the best businesses in and around the Puget Sound as voted on by consumers in categories such as Best Cheese Shop, Best Winery, Best Live Music and Best Tea House, a list Pippa’s has now topped two years in a row.
“People vote for their favorite shop, so we have had a lot of people from Seattle voting for us on top of our local support,” Mills said.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]