There's one question I'd like to never hear again, "Want to meet for coffee?"
I don't drink coffee. Yes, shock, horror, no coffee. The rules are different when traveling abroad, but let's not nit pick. There are so many liquids I love and would be happy to meet over - wine, beer, cocktails, but if said meeting is before Noon on a Tuesday, and I'm not traveling, then I don't need the looks.
I've been lukewarm on the juice craze because I can't get over paying $10 for some fruit squeezed in a cup, and besides, no real business has ever been conducted over kale parts. It seems business needs to occur over hot liquid. I drink tea, and if I were in London, it would be perfectly acceptable to discuss important matters over tea. In fact, it would be necessary, but in the US tea doesn't carry enough weight. Sure you can order tea in some of the coffee places here, but it's like a poor stepchild.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about a tea shop opening on Main Street in Venice. It wasn't a light, frilly name like Lily's Loose Leaves, but rather, it was a firm, strong, assertive name, Gunpowder. Now Gunpowder is a place I could tell someone to meet me to discuss closing the next big deal.
There are many options to partake in at Gunpowder, and they all involve fresh fruit infused tea with an interesting range of herbs and spices. My caffeine-laden friends can still get their fix here with a range of natural drinks like the fully leaded Gunshot or Java Black. Guayasa is the main ingredient here. It grows in the rainforest in the Amazon and has twice the antioxidants as green tea, which means you'll get your happy buzz, but will have it au naturel. I went for the Gunshot latte with almond milk and it had a really nice deep, earthy flavor and I didn't notice any crazy jitters after drinking it, which is pretty surprising for me since I'm sensitive to caffeine.
You can also take some of these natural teas home in their scientific looking test tubes filled with unique concoction like Szechuan peppercorns and hibiscus or Valerian root, chamomile, and passion flower.
In addition to hot and cold drinks, they also have something for you to nosh on while you're there. Merce Muse is the baker extraordinaire behind these wonderful gluten free, low glycemic treats like banana bread, blueberry muffins or the fabulous triple ginger cookies. Don't worry though, low sugar does not mean low taste in this case. I had actually been to Merce's sweet bakery in Paris before she sold it, so it was nice to reconnect with her and her cooking without having to jump back on a plane.
The scene at Gunpowder is fairly coffee cafe typical with laptop toting locals gathered around a long, communal table, though this one has ergonomic chairs, and also has a comfy couch area, along with a pair of adirondack chair perched on top of fresh grass.
Yes, there's a little patch of lawn for you to put your feet in while you enjoy your tea.
Gunpowder is open 24/7, which is good news for the midnight oil burners, and those looking for free wifi, though one day when I was there it was out and sent many people into a tailspin, or maybe it was the newly concocted caffeinated tea.
So next time you want to meet up with me before happy hour, how 'bout we forego the coffee and connect over some tea?