The Grind

The Grind May 2013

Capital Tea offers unique pastry options, smooth jazz and loose-leaf teas from across the globe.

Photo by Camilla Sterne, DU Clarion.

We all know hipsters love to be surrounded by other hipsters. How else are we supposed to learn the ways of the exclusively excellent? But in order to be truly cutting edge, it’s sometimes necessary to discover places that haven’t previously been acknowledged by the trendy masses.

Enter Capital Tea.

Capital Tea is a locally owned teashop at 1450 S. Broadway. You’re not a genuine modster until you’ve discovered South Broadway, a street riddled with hip locals like Regal Vintage, Ganja Gourmet, skull-adorned costume shop Flossy McGrew’s, 24-hour Winchell’s Donuts and Fancy Tiger, an indie craft supply store. Capital Tea, sandwiched between a gay bar, antique stores, guitar shops and even a cyclery, has yet to be noticed by the DU chic.

The shop is open from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Although hours are fairly limited, Capital Tea has free Wi-Fi and offers the ideal place to study postmodernist performance art, read Infinite Jest or peruse the web for obscure Swedish neo-soul bands.

There’s no denying that tea is eff-ing cool. What better way to engage in world culture, replenish antioxidant stores and look sophisticated at the same time?

With a broad selection of loose-leaf teas from places across the globe such as Africa, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and China, Capital Tea not only offers artsy street-cred but also the opportunity to up your cultural capital.

Capital Tea is steeped in an indulgent mixture of oriental poise and homey tranquility. Its unique combination of utilitarian wood shelving, cozy green benches and bamboo-tiled ceiling give it a serenity that’s uncharacteristic of Broadway storefronts. The main counter sports an awesome light fixture designed by local artist Tracey Barnes. It is a branch hung with lights, crystals, beads and coral—a rustic chandelier of sorts. The tables are never without fresh flowers and the employees never without genuine smiles.

Owner and local entrepreneur Lisa Biro worked at DU for 15 years as the Benefits Manager for Human Resources. She started Capital Tea because she wanted to fully engage her imagination and originality. She soon realized she was meant for entrepreneurship.

Biro’s food options are greatly inspired by the time she spent in France in her 20s, when she discovered a passion for all things French.

Unexpected pastry options and a selection of simple and wholesome lunches provide a culinary affair that almost rivals the fragrant teas. The seasonal menu changes regularly and a variation of inventive cakes and pastries are cooked daily. With choices like sticky toffee pudding and lemon lavender scones as well as fresh asparagus soup, it won’t be easy to resist nibbling on a little something.

Capital Tea’s atmosphere is augmented by a Pandora selection of mellow jazz. It provides a soothing den away from the fast-paced modern world, and invites reflection, reprieve and relief. According to Biro, frequenters of Capital Tea are readers, travelers, artists and those who understand the ritual of tea.

As such, Capital Tea hosts other events from time to time such as art shows, live music performances and has even revived the lost art of tea-leaf reading. These events can be found online at or by subscribing to the Capital Tea newsletter.

If you’re tired of the Lulu Lemon clad swarms that have commandeered Stella’s Coffeehaus, visit 1450 S. Broadway. Take a break from oiling your beloved fixie and listening to vinyl on your brand new Urban Outfitters record player to indulge in a truly retro experience— that of sipping a cup of tea. You never know, you may capture a perfectly edited Instagram shot of color-coated teapots and cinnamon blueberry scones.

Bon appe-tea!