Pippa's Real Tea in Port Townsend has been named Best Tea House in the Seattle area by Seattle A-List for 2016 from a field of more than 40 nominees from throughout the Puget Sound region.
Owner Pippa Mills was surprised by the honor, especially since she won over several well-known tea houses that have been around for years.
“I'm really, really surprised and delighted and I credit my bakers and my tea mavens,” said Mills.
“I don't know what it will mean for business but we just turned four [years in business] so I feel it's quite an accomplishment,” she added.
The comment that Seattle's A List used on its website to honor Pippa's came from Port Townsend resident Leticia Huber, who mentioned the attention to customers, excellent teas, wines, food, sophisticated and elegant setting.
Seattle's A-List is an online business contest offered by CityVoter Blog that features more than 27,000 businesses competing for the titles of Seattle's best.
Queen Mary in Seattle came in second place; Victorian Rose Tea Room in Port Orchard came in third; Attic Secret Cafe and Tea in Marysville won fourth-place honors; Secret Garden Tea in Sumner tied for fifth place with Cederberg Tea House in Seattle.
Mills noted that KING 5 TV did a Best of Western Washington contest last year and Pippa's was nominated and came in fifth in the tea room category, but this year, the tea room category was dropped. Seattle A-List offered it up as an option and Mills was surprised last week to learn she had won.
Pippa's also was mentioned in a recent episode of HGTV Beachfront Bargain Hunt, a national show. The tea shop was included in an episode called “Small Living on Puget Sound.” On that show, available on cable, she got more unanticipated recognition.
“I got to talk on camera a bit about tea, how it's actually growing here in Washington state,” Mills said. After that episode appeared, she said she received calls from friends from all over the country, surprised to see her.
“We get a lot of people from Seattle coming over here,” Mills said. “My scones with clotted cream is a huge hit. And it's the setting; the fireplace in the winter time, the courtyard in the summer. People from Seattle are blown away to find something so modern and different here in Port Townsend.”
Mills credits her bakers and tea mavens – her term for the tea equivalent of a coffee barista – and what she calls a “TEAm” effort that makes people feel welcome.
Bakers include Jacquie “Snacky Jacky” Peters, Kirsten Adams and Ally Snow. Tea mavens, who know all about tea and can make recommendations, include manager Julie Marquez, Sophia Ingalls, Candace Mangold and Jill Hamilton. Snow also is a tea maven.
“It's lovely to get recognition from people all over the country,” Mills notes. “But it's even more lovely to get recognition and support from our local community. We couldn't do it without them.”