Discover Chinese Tea Culture At The Red Robe

© Courtesy of Red Robe
© Courtesy of Red Robe
Photo of Henry Oliver
24 November 2016

Found in the heart of Portland’s Chinatown, Red Robe is a haven of sorts for tea-lovers. Offering six families of tea and a plethora of varieties, visitors are never short of choice. All of their teas are directly imported from China, and their authenticity is compounded by the fact that waiters will tell you about your tea’s history when it’s served. Add a delightful selection of food to this, and it’s no surprise that Red Robe is one of the area’s most beloved restaurants. We spoke to the restaurants co-owners who enlightened us with information about Red Robe’s history and tea culture in general.

Where did ‘The Red Robe’ come from? Does the name have a story behind it?

It’s actually the name of my favorite tea translated in English.

Gong Fu Tea Set | © Red Robe Tea

Do you source your teas directly from China?

Yes, we do. We work with our family in Guangzhou, China to bring the highest quality teas. For us, tea is part of our daily regime to stay healthy so we care very much about the quality of our tea.

BBQ Ribs | © Red Robe Tea

How many different kinds of tea do you serve?

We serve six families of tea: black, green, white, oolong, puerh, and herbal. Each family has about three or four different teas.

Family of Tea | © Red Robe Tea

Which tea is your favourite?

My favorite tea is Da Hong Pao.

Can you tell us more about the Gong Fu tea service?

Tea is a natural medicine, and the Gong Fu-style tea preparation is all about bringing out the healing properties of tea. It requires the server to understand the properties of each specific tea and, because of this, takes some time to master. When you’re drinking the tea Gong Fu-style, it’s more than just appreciating the tea. It’s also about appreciating the set it is served on and the company you are sharing the tea with.

Stirfry | © Red Robe Tea

If you had to pick only one dish from your menu, which would it be? And why?

My favorite thing to eat at the café is the black mushroom dish. It is a popular dish in China because it is traditionally seen as a very healthy dish.

Black Mushroom | © Red Robe Tea

What does the future hold for The Red Robe?

I would love to open more Gong Fu-style shops so that I can share our culture and the benefits of tea with more people.

Where would you advise our culture-loving readers to visit in Portland?

I would recommend visiting the Lan Su Chinese Garden, just a few blocks from our café. The building was made entirely by materials imported from China and is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China.

Pearl and Raymond | © Red Robe Tea
Local Favorite 2016

The Red Robe is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s Portland’s Chinatown Local Favorite 2016 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.

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