Verdant Tea expands to a full menu with cocktails

Minneapolis tea house Verdant Tea is diving into the world of food and booze, and their tried-and-true brews are taking center stage.

As of July 11, Verdant serves a full food menu and will add on a cocktail bar by the end of summer. The menu offers five to six meals centered around a specific region's cuisine and each dish will be paired with a tea.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: No. 56, Verdant Tea's curry soba noodles

The tasting room opened in July of last year, originally just offering Chinese loose-leaf tea, chai they make in-house, and kombucha, tea's fermented older sister. With á la carte breakfast items and regular coffee available for purchase as well, Verdant seemed to be just another great spot to get your caffeine fix and a quick snack. Now, the addition of lunch and dinner reform the tea house into an edgier stay-awhile spot to be reckoned with.

"Adding a full menu had a lot to do with working [on a pop-up] with the Birchwood Cafe," owner David Duckler says. "We got to spend a lot of time with their chefs and realized we had a lot of the same values, [so] when the pop-up was over, we really didn't want to be done with food."

Duckler and the Verdant family are working with six farmers and want to celebrate each village where their teas come from by creating dishes focused on these regions.

The tea, itself, will be used as a primary spice in the menu, featured in broths, sauces, and salads. Verdant is serving up Chinese street food recipes made with Minnesota-grown products.

"People in China cook for you in their home and treat you like family," Duckler says. He's hoping to add a similar environment to his teahouse.

Yes, but what about the booze?

Verdant is pushing flavors which "encourage people to taste, not to drink." You may not find any rail liquor here, but you will find drinks infused with nontraditional ingredients such as incense. Served in crystal glasses, Duckler expects his customers to embrace the liquor as respectfully as it is presented.

The trend of cafes serving alcohol has been growing in popularity throughout the years -- places like JJ's Coffee and Wine Bistro are sprouting all over the Twin Cities -- but with caffeine, alcohol, and food, Verdant might just become the newest triple threat.

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