Red Robe Tea House Offers Gong Fu Tea Service

Photo courtesy of the Red Robe Tea House & Cafe

The Red Robe Tea House & Café brings authentic Southern Chinese culture to Portland, Oregon, while still appealing to Western preferences.

“I combined the traditional Chinese and Western tastes,” said co-owner Pearl Zhang. “I also came up with this using both creativity and delicacy.” Customers who dine there get an all-encompassing Cantonese cultural experience. “Red Robe is also a place to experience the centuries-old art of Chinese tea culture which other restaurants cannot provide,” said  Zhang.

Located in Portland’s China Town district at Northwest Third Avenue and Davis Street, The Culture Trip lists the Red Robe as one of the neighborhood’s best restaurants. The food menu has an array of items, from dumplings to ma po tofu. The tea menu has a variety of black, oolong, green, herbal and floral teas. “They are the most popular, high-end teas in China. They are either from Yunnan or Fujian,” added Zhang.

Photo courtesy of the Red Robe Tea House & Cafe

Known for its gong fu tea service, the Red Robe provides an educational experience for customers right at the table. Gong fu means “with skill,” and this tea ceremony demonstrates it. Servers explain the Chinese tea ceremony to customers as they prepare the tea in addition to describing the origin of each tea. They also clarify why they put black teas into clay pots and green teas into glass pots. “The different materials of the tea pots can create different tastes in the teas,” Zhang said. “For the black teas that have been through the fermentation process, we use the clay pot because it can keep the teas at the perfect temperature. For green teas, the glass pot releases the heat to balance the temperature.”

The café’s décor has red accents and tea sets line the shelves. “We create a relaxing dining environment for customers. We want our customers to feel like being at home every time they come here,” said Zhang.

Photo courtesy of the Red Robe Tea House & Cafe