Dragon Gong Fu Tea House is one of those places where if you don’t know about it, you would never stumble upon it. Sitting in Ashland’s “underground marketplace” the tea house opens its doors weekday mornings and weekend nights.
When a guest walks into the tea house they’re welcomed and seated at the sole fifteen foot community table. Dozens of tea pots, decorations, and rocks adorn the wooden table.
At the tea house strangers and friends sit together to chat and enjoy tea with one another. Volunteer Arrow Macgowan explains, “a big part of what we do is pour tea and hold space for people and facilitate conversations.” And it works, Macgowan later went on to say, “any day of the week, any weekend, you’ll have people meeting. I’ve seen tons of collaborations be born here, relations started, friendships made and forged.”
Although any of the staff at Dragon Gong Fu Tea House can talk about tea for hours, they apply more than encyclopedia knowledge to tea. Macgowan told us when he was learning about tea, “it’s not like we were sitting there looking at tea leaves under a microscope and just talking about tea. [We learned] the philosophy of tea, and the history of tea, and the significance of tea as more than a social past time, but as a lifestyle and a health bench mark.”
Dragon Gong Fu Tea House’s menu consists of more than just teas- cocoa, kefir, jun, and kava are also available.
When reflecting on what gives the tea house its social atmosphere Macgowan said “people are gonna sit down for the most part, they’re gonna be around other people, but the tea itself has a tendency to bring people together. . . Its always been a way to meet new people if a stranger comes into your house in cultures all over the world still you offer them a cup of tea its a wonderful introduction to people.”
While it is impossible for a western business to completely replicate the traditional tea and kava drinking cultures of the east, Dragon Gong Fu Tea House brings a social atmosphere not seen in many western businesses.
Dragon Gong Fu Tea House opens from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 9am to 1pm Monday through Friday. Dragon Gong Fu Tea House is located at 33 North 3rd St