Tea and rainy days go together like peanut butter and jelly, Jim and Pam, Austin and weird, and when Anslee and I were looking to escape the Seattle-like weather, we stumbled upon Koriente Tea House & Restaurant. I can think of no other place in Austin where I'd want to spend a rainy afternoon than Koriente.
It has a large selection of hot teas, and the friendly, accommodating staff can answer any of your questions regarding flavor, caffeine-content, brewing method, even how the leaves were grown. They offer bubble teas and "art teas" if you're looking for something fun.
Their menu is Korean-inspired with some amusing variations (like chicken bulgogi and three bears porridge). It's all pretty healthy and there are plenty of vegetarian options. For being right behind Beauty Bar, this little hideaway could be much-too-pretentious, but it keeps a sense of humor about things. Cute but kitsch country decor mixes and somehow matches the vintage toys and old vinyl that decorates the place. On any given rainy afternoon, you might be lucky enough to share the place with some old Korean men arguing and some hungry hipsters.
Location: 621 E. 7th St, at the Sabine and 7th intersection, small parking lot in the back
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Accepts: Visa and Mastercard only, $5 minimum
Rating: 4 stars
Bottom line: It feels a bit like Seattle. All the better for Austin.