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DOBRA TEA HOUSE - Northampton- Review

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So, they opened a week or two ago, and since then every time I've walked by it's busy. Went there today with a friend who also likes to try new places -- her husband was a professional chef for 20 years and she knows good food.

Given that there are no less than six other great local places to get tea in two block area downtown, as well simple places to grab a cup of hot water and a tea bag (Serio's, State St, Dunkin), Dobra has to prove it has something better. Dobra is a chain that started in Prague (as in Czech Republic). It feels like the tea version of 10,000 Villages, with American locations in "simpatico" communities such as Asheville, NC, Madison, WI and Burlington, VT.

I had a Tulsi Basil Chai with almond milk. It was cloyingly sweet with very little spice punch. Bleh. If the decaf ginger chai at Woodstar is a 10, this was a 2. I also had a small (and I mean SMALL) plate of dolmati. They were unobjectionable. Nothing I'd go back for.

My friend had a real chai -- she said it was "just OK" and a small bowl of those tiny funny shaped Japanese crackers. Eh.

As for the atmosphere, it was like being in a stage set for someone's idea of the Arabian nights. There are small tables with normal chairs plus other sitting areas with cushions and low tables so you can sit on the floor. We sat at a regular table where we found ourselves bowing over the low table to reach our food. UNcomfortable.

It was dark in the back room where we found a table, so I had to use my purse flashlight to see the menu.

The service is earnest, but slow. Our tea took nearly 20 minutes to come. Were they squeezing the almonds in the kitchen?

Overall, not impressed. I'll be going back to Woodstar or Sip or Northampton Coffee for my next cup of expensive speciality tea.

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  1. thanks for the post! I had been noticing the interesting interior coming together for some time before they opened. And went in the other night to see what it was like. Admittedly, I am not much of a tea person. But was happy to see some food on their menu. However , when inquiring about a few of the menu items, I was disappointed to hear that they are getting a lot of the food from elsewhere...like the dolmades. So to me, strike 1. They did have some gluten free baked goods from Cafe Evolution (I think from there) which was a nice gesture. I had no idea it was a chain of sorts.