This Apsara Tea House is one of few located in Riga. Each of them is very different, but they all carry a similar theme with oriental inspiration. It is located in a park by Elizabetes Street. The park itself does not have a great reputation, but it can be enjoyable during daytime. Right next to the tea house there is a concert stage, where they have performances during the summer and you can actually see this stage from one of the windows on the upper level. The tea house itself looks pretty much like a mountain cottage from the outside with a big patio and outdoor seating. With this looks it stads out very much from its surrounding – it is quite an unusual view.
On the inside there are two levels. The ground level holds the counter and tea display as well as products available for purchase – loose leaf teas from the Apsara brand, various cups and accessories, infusers. I was even able to find a matcha whisk here. There are also very few seating places. You can take the cute, narrow stairs to the upper level, where there is plenty of space – on the floor. Yes, here you can only sit on mats and cushions placed along the walls of the hut . The atmosphere here can be described as cosy in certain ways, but not very cosy in others. Generally the upper level is quite dark and the daylight that makes its way into the hut is intimidating. On the other hand there is something nice about the calm and quite aura there and the non-formal way of spending time. You can also see the whole downstairs from there, which is pretty fun. The lower level is much more friendly and welcoming in terms of like and ambience, but the seating there make it less chilled out.
The interior can be puzzling. I would say some of the inspiration is from a mountain cottage, along with more oriental elements, such as the cushions and lanterns. Overall the place doesn’t have a consistent style and different elements are not integrated to form one specific mood. I find this to be a big minus here. The mats and cushions are not in such a great shape either.
As all Apsara houses, this one also has a wide range of teas to offer – anything from Chinese and Japanese greens, pu-erhs, blacks, whites to a variety of herbal teas and mate. They have a very good mate called Cuba Libre, which I can warmly recommend. With your mate you get a whole thermos of water, so you can refill your cup until you burst. You get all the tea tools you need to prepare your tea the traditional way, however just like with the interior decor, the tea ware styles and sets are also inconsistent. I like when everything fits together, but other might think it’s more charming this way. Except for tea, you can also buy various cakes, pastries and ice cream.
I was indifferent to the service at Apsara – it wasn’t either super great or really bad. They were nice, so my opinion remains neutral. In many ways the Apsara tea house is a place where you can take refuge from the city. On a sunday there were very few people and lots of space, a very peaceful atmosphere. My experience here is more on the positive side and I would lie to come back here from time to time. If you like more posh, stylish and modern interiors with a ‘cool’ vibe however, this is not a place for you.
Address – Elizabetes iela 75, Riga