Many of you may have seen a funkadelic, tie-dyed bus driving around Blacksburg this semester. If you look at it closely, you’ll notice that the license plate reads “TEAJAM,” and a logo with a sprouting plant and rising sun adorns each side. This is the bus of the newly opened tea shop on North Main, Tea and Jam.
Tea and Jam takes pride in its large selection of loose-leaf teas and health-conscious food options. When you walk in, the staff will ask you if it’s your first time and will hand you the food and tea menu. The tea menu may be intimidating at first, but there’s nothing to worry about; the staff is more than willing to answer any questions you have.
As for the tea options, the shop has white, green, oolong, black and several other types. Under each type, you may have up to 10 different options, though. For example, say you want green tea. You have the option of green tea leaves infused with jasmine and rolled into “pearls” that are just balls that unfold as they steep. If you like matcha green tea, you also have that option. No one tea is the same.
As for the food, options include toast with avocado, hummus or nut butter (peanut, almond or sunflower), as well as beet salad, spicy chickpeas and hummus with veggies. It also has a selection of cookies or scones that change based on where they are sourced from that week. If you’re not craving a cup of tea or a vegan snack, it also has cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
The only caveat with the food selection is that the prices are high for the portions served, especially in a college town. The way I see it, you’re paying for food that you know is responsibly grown and sourced from ethically minded distributors, but if you’re looking for a place where you can get the most food for your dollar, this isn’t it.
One of Tea and Jam’s greatest strengths is the atmosphere. The music is very calming and not too loud or in your face; it’s just there to contribute to your experience. If you’re familiar with the “lofi hip-hop radio” streams on YouTube, imagine those being played while you sit on the floor surrounded by pillows, tapestries, shiny chandeliers and psychedelic artwork as you sip your hot tea that was steeped and poured right in front of you.
However, if you’re not a fan of barefoot dining and reclining with pillows on the floor, there are plenty of tables to sit at, each with its own little charm. For example, your table could be under a canopy that hangs from the ceiling, a giant slice of a tree trunk under a dazzling, technicolored chandelier, or even a chalkboard to doodle on while you wait.
As I mentioned before, the staff is incredibly nice and helpful. They’ll help you understand the different selection of teas, and odds are they’ve tried every single one of them themselves. You can even request another pot of hot water to re-steep your leaves if you’re in the mood for a second or third cup.
My experiences at Tea and Jam were extremely positive, and it will definitely be a go-to spot if I have a stressful day or if I’m just in the mood for a superb cup of tea.