By Taylor-Ann Smith
Explore Big Sky Staff Writer
BOZEMAN – Amid the coffee roasters, local breweries and breakfast nooks, Townshend’s Tea Company brings something fresh to Bozeman. Scott Herron and his wife Melissa run this quaint little shop on the corner of Rouse Avenue and East Main Street that opened on April 10 of this year.
EBS talked with Melissa about her endeavors and what made the five-location company choose Montana. Melissa is originally from Livingston and met Scott attending Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. They bonded over a mutual love of tea. Indeed, Scott hosted college tea parties as opposed to traditional ragers.
Townshend’s understands tea complexity and symbolism, offering more than 100 loose-leaf teas including chai, classics, herbal, medicinal, rare finds, and bubble tea, a cold, frothy drink made with iced tea, sweetened milk and sweet black balls or “pearls” made from tapioca. The company is also the proprietor of the popular bottled kombucha called Brew Dr. Kombucha.
For not being a locally founded company – Townshend’s hails from the trendy city of Portland – it fits right into the Bozeman cuisine scene. Townsend’s Tea Company began as a college project at the University of Oregon in 2002.
Eclectic furniture, cozy size, and modern accents merge a campus-style coffeehouse vibe with the refined atmosphere associated with top-grade, loose-leaf teas.
The Herrons took an extra step to bring locality to the company’s first out-of-state location by creating a special, handcrafted list of teas brewed in-house that are unique to Bozeman and embody its character. One example is the ‘Amaretto Spice,’ which is a South Indian black tea with cinnamon and natural almond flavor.
Townshend’s menu is a whopping 19 pages, not including the Bozeman selections or seasonal specialties. After a thorough read, I start with a black iced tea – Mt. Hood Vanilla –a crisp, refreshing tea with vanilla bean flavor.
I then decide to go bold and try the bubble tea, which originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and remains a trendy choice in metropolitan areas. Townshend’s features a wide variety for any novice or professional bubble tea enthusiast. I select a black tea base with raspberry flavor and aloe jelly pearls. The flavor is perfect, but sipping the pearls through a massive straw is half the pleasure.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet read and hot kettle of earl grey, or you’re out for a weekend stroll in Bozeman and seek liquid refreshment, Townshend’s Teahouse satisfies any thirst.