Pittsburgh Pit Stop: Bantha Tea Bar
Photo: Douglas Duerring
Bantha Tea Bar is an earthy urban oasis serving locally sourced teas and a satisfying menu of soup, sandwiches and sweet options.
Located next to the Irma Freeman Center on Penn Avenue, this Bloomfield/Garfield business is catching the city's attention with its inspiring array of herbal, black and green teas, along with its environmentally conscious architecture and socially responsible commitments. Last week I enjoyed an iced guayusa with citrus and ginger and some cold leek and celery soup while chatting with one of Bantha's co-owners about the space.
Bantha sources from local growers, including Cutting Root Apothecary and Three Rivers Tea. Organic varieties are available, and water is purified by reverse osmosis. Glass jars line the shelves behind the mosaic bartop with names begging more than one visit to taste: Coconut Chai, Ancient Phoenix Puer, Lapsang Souchong, Tulsi, Scottish Breakfast, Captains Choice (rooibos, yerba, peppermint), Siberian Chaga, Kratom, and Matcha green tea, to name a few.
Permaculture principles guided the design process, which relied heavily on reclaimed materials. The cobbed ceiling was installed over a period of two and half weeks to allow ample drying time between layers. Bantha also utilizes solar power and biodegradable to-go cups. Both bar and table seating provide the perfect space to relax and enjoy a book, a friend, a project or just a rejuvenating drink!