| |

Tea House Review: Afternoon Tea at The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado

In February 2024, Xak and I planned to visit his cousin Eugene and his parents out in Colorado. Our five year old nephew, Eddie, and his parents would be there along with Xak’s parents. I was feeling a bit nervous. Although we get our fair share of snow in the DC area, typically I stay at home on these days and wrap myself up in a partially crocheted blanket with my mug of Yorkshire tea. However, in Colorado, snow days are as normal there as traffic is here. Basically, it’s business as usual, even when everything is covered in a blanket of snow.

Since it was everyone’s first trip to Colorado, Eugene and his parents wanted to make sure that we had a wonderful time and had a chance to do something each of us wanted to do. For my request, I asked if we could visit a Colorado tea room. Eugene said he had the perfect one to go to, and his family set up the reservations for all of us to visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado.

About The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan, and also the sister city of Boulder. The teahouse opened its doors in 1998 and is an accurate representation of a Tajik chaikhana (teahouse) since it was built by artisans and woodcarvers from Tajikistan as a gift to establish the sister city ties. There is a ton of fascinating history about the origins of the teahouse which you can find online and in front of the teahouse entrance itself.

The exterior of the tea house is beautiful. I have no other words for it. I was so impressed when I read about how much work went into this building by some truly masterful artists. I know, my pictures don’t do it justice; you will really appreciate the skills and talent when you see this up close.

The teahouse is also a restaurant and serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch in addition to the daily afternoon tea. There’s also a carefully cultivated rose garden which is strategically designed to look unplanned (keeping with Tajik tradition) which features 45 varieties of roses maintained by the Boulder Valley Rose Society. Since we were visiting right in the middle of the winter, we weren’t able to see the roses, but I can certainly imagine how beautiful it was…. thanks to the help of pictures on the Internet 😄

Maybe one day, I can experience it myself.

Reservation Process

Afternoon tea reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance since the food is prepared fresh the day of. You must call to make a tea reservation: there is no way to do this online. (Note: dinner reservations can be made online) When you make your reservation call, this is the time you disclose any dietary restrictions and your credit card information to ensure your spot. There is an additional fee (currently $3 as of the time of this entry) for each gluten free guest. For current pricing, times, and reservation info, check out the website’s Afternoon Tea page.

Since Eugene and his family are Colorado residents, they handled setting up the reservations for our group. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse welcomes parties of all sizes, including our party of 10 which included 3 gluten free guests and the need for additional accessibility accommodations.

Although there is a children’s tea option available, we still requested an adult tea (a total of 10 adults) for 5 year old Eddie since we were 99% certain one of us (cough, me) could easily eat any of his leftovers, if needed.


As someone who lives in the DC Metro area, I’m used to paying for parking, street parking only, crazy parking rules, and the constant fear of being towed. I expect the same in a city like Boulder.

You’ll find parking on 13th Street, which is a little bit of a walk to the tea house entrance. You’ll have to pay to park either through the Parkmobile app or through a kiosk. Depending on how long you intend to stay, expect to pay around a couple of dollars per hour. Details on all your parking options can be found on the parking page of the City of Boulder website.

Inside the Tea House

I was so blown away by the exterior, I was very excited to see what was to come once we stepped inside. I was not disappointed.


I’ve been to a number of wonderful tea rooms, hotels, and tea houses, but this place is truly one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. From the floor to the hand painted ceiling, you are surrounded by beautifully intricate carvings, indoor trees and greenery, gorgeous paintings featuring traditional Persian designs, colorful mosaic tiles, and the feeling of being in a serene garden or conservatory. 

Our tables were decorated with fresh flowers in small vases on top of white tablecloths, glasses of water with lemon slices at every place and cloth napkins laying on each plate. There were tea timers and tea menus conveniently located for each section of the table to review. 

Our table for ten was seated near a window and a wall of lovely hand carved plaster panels

Although we were just getting seated and hadn’t ordered anything yet, there were already four pots of tea placed at the table.


We required additional accessibility accommodations for our group and were happy to see that the tea house was one floor with no steps. There was ample room for wheelchair access and the table we were seated at allowed the wheelchair to pull right up to one of the ends.

Tea Selection

After settling in our seats, our server explained she had pre-selected and steeped four pots of tea based on popular flavors which included the following:

  • Blue Moon – a black tea with blueberry flavor, almond, and vanilla
  • Boulder Breakfast – a blend of Keemun, Assam, and Yunnan teas
  • Rooibos de Provence – a floral and fruity tea with lavender
  • Snow Blossom – a green tea with rose petals, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine

The name of the tea was written on each tea pot so we knew what we were drinking. Our server mentioned that all teas could be served as iced, if preferred, and that we had the ability to order additional teas. She also recommended we try the award winning in house made chai, which made chai loving Xak’s eyes perk up. 

Since the tea menu was quite large and we were just getting settled, we decided to review what was available before making any hasty decisions and enjoy the pots of tea already at our tables. Our server had removed the tea infusers from each pot after the tea was steeped.

A collection of teapot infusers from the pots of tea.

Usually at tea rooms, individual tea strainers are set for each guest so they can catch leaves from falling into their cup. The leaves stay within the pot and then typically the tea will be oversteeped and taste bitter if you don’t drink it fast enough. This is the first time I’ve seen a tea room use a tea pot infuser and I wish this was the standard for all tea rooms.

There was also sugar cubes, little pitchers of cream and honey available to add to our tea.

The menu was several pages, along with some monthly specials. There were black teas, green teas, oolong teas, white teas, pu-erh teas, herbal and wellness teas. In fact, there was so much to look at that I decided the tea on the table would be just fine.

This is the biggest tea menu I’ve seen during one of my tea visits. Then again, it is a tea house.

The Food

Typically at afternoon tea, you don’t choose the exact food you’ll eat: you choose from different pre-set afternoon tea menus where the amount of courses vary, like a cream tea (just scones with tea) or a royal tea (standard afternoon tea with an additional glass of champagne) Xak and I have had the experience of never being able to order exactly what we’ll eat for each course at every tea room we’ve visited, except for one place.

At the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, we had no idea what food would be served since it was not listed on the website nor were there any food menus on the table so we were in for a surprise. Although we did not know at the time, we ended up having the following:

Amuse Bouche

  • Butternut Squash Soup


  • Cucumber Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Crostini
  • Gruyere and Spinach pinwheel (served to non-GF guests only)
  • Rice Noodle salad (served to Gluten Free guests only)


  • Lemon scones served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and strawberry preserves


  • Chocolate cake with raspberry (non-GF)
  • Ginger spice cake (non-GF)
  • Vanilla cake with lemon curd (non-GF)

The gluten free guests had the following desserts:

Gluten Free Desserts

  • St. James apricot cake
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Flourless chocolate cake

The server returned with our first course: the amuse bouche.

Amuse Bouche and the Three Tiered Tray

A tiny mug filed with soup was served to each guest.

An amuse bouche is a one serving appetizer selected by the chef. It comes from a French phrase meaning entertain (amuse) and mouth (bouche). For this specific tea, we were given a Butternut Squash soup which was coconut milk based, salty, spicy and served in a small mug. It smelled and tasted great, and I could have easily had an entire bowl.

Sadly, amuse bouches are really just meant to prepare you for the rest of the meal, meaning my soup was gone in only a few sips. If the entire meal was going to taste like this, we would surely be in for a treat. Our three tiered trays came out shortly after and our empty dishes were swiftly taken away.


My plate of savories

Both the regular afternoon tea and gluten free tea trays had three savories each including cucumber sandwiches and egg salad crostinis, with the difference being the bread. For our third savory, the regular afternoon tea guests received a Gruyere and Spinach pinwheel, while the gluten free guests received a refreshing rice noodle salad.

Each person received two cucumber sandwiches which used a different bread for the top and bottom slices, thin slices of cucumbers, and cream cheese. Most tea houses lean towards a neutral flavor for their cucumber sandwiches, which is how the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse chose to prepare as well. Since I generally add way more dill and herbs than one probably should in my cucumber sandwiches, it was different from what I normally make, but I was glad that my table seemed to enjoy it.

The egg salad was served as scoops on crisp crostinis with plenty of inviting looking paprika sprinkled on top. Just like my herbs, I usually go overboard with paprika when I make deviled eggs and smoked paprika when I roast chickpeas, so this amount looked fantastic. I was ready for a spicy bite, however the egg salad actually tasted more mild than I expected. The crostini was fabulously crisp: not quite break your teeth crunchy, but a very audible bite. I love crostinis and I was glad that we each got two.

The Gruyere and Spinach pinwheel sounded like an excellent combination, and it was quite tasty. Although not the traditional cold cut pinwheel that Xak loves, this was still his favorite since it was wrapped in pastry after all. I definitely appreciated the saltiness that came with the gruyere cheese.


For our scone course, everyone at the table received a triangular shaped lemon scone (the gluten free people had one made with gluten free ingredients) which ranged in a variety of sizes. To go on top of the scones were lemon curd, strawberry preserves, and Devonshire cream, all made in house.

My lemon scone was…. on the petite side.

Unfortunately, someone has to get the smallest scone (Xak calls it the runt) and that person on this day was me. It was a shame because the scone was delicious, particularly with the lemon curd. Since the lemon flavor in the scone was fairly subtle, the additional lemon curd slathered on top made it really tasty. Xak thought the scone had just the right amount of dryness and clearly appreciated his larger size scone. 😄


This was my plate for desserts. Just kidding 🤣 This was four servings of desserts on one tier.

The top tier of our trays contained three different types of desserts. For the regular afternoon tea folks, we were served three types of cakes: Chocolate cake with raspberry, a ginger spice cake, and a vanilla cake with lemon curd.

The chocolate raspberry cake was topped with crystallized ginger and chocolate shavings and a gooey center. The ginger spice cake had sweet icing and was very soft with a blackberry perched on top. The vanilla cake had a tart flavor thanks to the lemon and a blueberry placed in the center of the icing.

Overall, these were three nice cakes with tea. Chocolate, ginger, and lemon are three of my favorite flavors, so I was extra delighted when some other family members couldn’t finish theirs and decided to take them home so we could eat later. 😄

Eddie already grabbed desserts from the gluten free plate before I could take a pic.

The gluten free tray included chocolate mousse (Eddie approved), flourless chocolate cake, and an apricot St. James cake (also available on the standard dessert menu) which is typically made with almond flour. Although I did not taste any of these, the desserts seemed to be tasty enough to disappear from the top of the three tiered tray.

The Chai

During the meal, in addition to our four pots of tea, we got refills on the Blue Moon tea, an order of Scottish Breakfast, and a few people (including Xak) decided they wanted to try the special in house made Chai. Xak’s been a chai fan for a while, but I’ve never really cared too much for it. However, after I saw the expression on his face when heI drank it, I asked if I could take a sip.

Xak’s chai was served in a separate glass cup and tasted amazing!

It was fantastic! I wish I had gotten my own cup. Unfortunately, we were wrapping up quite soon so I gave the cup sadly back to Xak.


I never leave a tea house without going to the restroom. After all, you never know when there could be an unexpected traffic jam on the road (at least in DC). The bathrooms at the tea house had separate stalls with signs on each door for upcoming Dim Sum tea events. Overall, the bathroom was uneventful and not memorable which is just the way a bathroom should be.

Don’t worry, this picture is outside the bathroom. The same signs were inside the stalls, just much smaller.

The Shop

On the way to the bathroom, I had passed some shelves with items, but was too much in a hurry to see what it was. On the way back to the table though, I stopped to look and saw that there were several canisters of tea and mini trinkets to purchase. In fact, you could buy the chai concentrate! I briefly thought about how excellent it would be to buy some and take it home before remembering I couldn’t bring it on the plane in my carry on.

I ended up walking back to the table empty handed, but luckily discovered later that you can buy the chai online through their shop.


Eugene’s parents kindly handled the bill for our visit and were able to pay with credit card. At the time of this entry, the price for an adult tea is $27, and children (anyone under 9) is $15 with the additional $3 gluten free fee per guest. According to the site, all guests will see an extra 4% Kitchen & Farmer Living Wage Surcharge on their check, and groups of 6 or more can expect a 20% gratuity added.

Final Thoughts

Normally I am all about the food or tea at a teahouse, but I was seriously blown away by how beautiful the building itself was. I have incredible respect for artists and the amount of detail that went into this place is seriously incredible.

That being said, the food and tea itself were also good. Since we were part of a big group, this was a little different than my normal tea experiences, such as sharing pots of tea with an entire table. My favorite part of the meal was the amuse bouche and the desserts. I took a peek at the normal restaurant menu and was quite intrigued by the wide variety of options ranging from Malaysian Sambal Curry to Swedish Svamptoast. I appreciate the fact that there are numerous Gluten Free options and was really happy that Eddie and his family were able to enjoy their afternoon tea experience without any fuss.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back in the area, but I would love to return someday and have another experience here, preferably when the rose garden is in bloom so I can take another 400 pictures of this place on my phone AND get my own cup of chai. 😄

Bonus: Our Colorado Trip

The trip to Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse was just a small portion of our trip. We did a lot… including going to my very first In-N-Out. Don’t hate me but… it just tasted like a regular burger to me. (Note: I am not a burger person and have no idea what a good burger tastes like. With that being said, it wasn’t bad…)

Some other highlights included visiting the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, seeing a pug while I was at the Garden of the Gods, eating a ton of other food like Beau Jo’s pizza and schnitzel at Edelweiss, seeing the cool itty bitty artwork in Golden, and overall just having a nice time with everyone.

It was a nice trip and it was fun just hanging out playing board games at home or making “pinecone soup” for Coffee Yum Yum. I know Xak was very happy which always makes me very happy too.

Fox Loving Xak perhaps at the happiest I’ve ever seen him… apart from our wedding day that is.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse Rating and Reviews

Average Rating: 4.0

Tea House Visited: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

4 star rating
4 star rating
4 star rating
4 star rating
“4 stars. The variety of treat selections were great. I would like a little more flavor in the cucumber sandwich as I prefer extra dill. The egg crostini was a bit too crunchy and difficult to eat.

The star was definitely the chai tea! I could have drank 2 or 3 glasses in one sitting!”
Chai Chugger
4 star rating
4 star rating
4 star rating
4 star rating
“I sound like a broken record because I keep saying how beautiful this place is, and that’s because it’s seriously beautiful.

While the architecture and environment is a definite 5 stars, I wouldn’t have minded if my scone wasn’t half the size of everyone else’s.

I would love to check this place out again.”
In Awe of Tajikistan Art

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *