Everyone–locals and visitors–treasures Santa Fe’s slower pace, zero to little traffic (relatively speaking) and the incredible weather that beckons you to sit for a few with a steaming cup of coffee or tea and breathe in the clean and crisp air of the high desert. Living here is almost like being on permanent vacation, so it’s no surprise the city is filled with lots of java fueling stops. Being the eccentric place it is, there is also a world-class teahouse you would only find in a big city. These are my favorite stomping grounds for hot and cold sips.
When we visited Santa Fe for our 10-day “trial run” at living like a local in 2013, we rented a house on the historic East side along the Acequia Madre on Garcia Street. This is a highly desirable part of town as you can walk everywhere, including the coffee shop at the corner, Downtown Subscription, frequented by locals and plenty of college students. Every morning, I would walk five minutes to the coffee shop for coffees and a New York Times.
Good magazines are hard to find (unless you subscribe to them), but this coffee shop has racks of magazines to choose from and it is next door to one of a handful of great independent bookstores in town, which makes my heart go pitter-patter. Grab a coffee, a wholesome matcha latte or a spicy chai latte and sit on one of the two patios while you sip your beverage, bask in the sun and read something intellectual or chit chat with the locals.
With three bustling locations in and around town, and a small coffee bar at Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee House, Iconik roasts their own coffee. It’s a growing coffee brand with plenty of edible options as well. With a thoughtful menu, this is the coffee shop that keeps people coming for the coffee and staying for the food.
The newest location is on Guadalupe and is my go-to for business and friendly meetings. The matcha latte is made with housemade almond milk or my newest favorite oatmilk. Grab a table, the couch, a seat at the community table or a spot outside on the patio to enjoy the outdoors.
Also a coffee wholesaler, you will likely find Iconik coffee at a variety of restaurants and resorts around town.
While traveling, I met up with a favorite friend who went to St. John’s College and frequently returns to Santa Fe for both business and pleasure. She was telling me about another favorite coffee shop (she also introduced me to the Downtown Subscription) called Ohori’s Coffee. With more than 30 years behind them, Ohori’s is considered Santa Fe’s original coffee roaster.
One location is nestled at the corner of St. Francis and Cerrillos near Cordova, while another is downtown off Cerrillos at Luna and a third a few blocks away at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail, next to Kaune’s. They roast their own Arabica beans and have a diverse menu that immediately caught my attention. They have oat milk for the win along with matcha, chai, turmeric and a good decaf latte that keeps me coming back for when I want more than just a cup of coffee.
When you’re ready to explore Santa Fe proper and move away from the downtown area, drive south on Cerrillos and seek out the city’s newest Zen escape spot filled with light, plants and plenty of teas and coffees.
To me, Opuntia feels like LA in Santa Fe, and sometimes to be somewhere you are not is a most welcome experience. Whether you are in need of a meet-up place or looking for a new hang-out spot, a trip to Opuntia may offer you with a new perspective as well as a respite from the fast-paced world.
Being a turmeric fan, my golden milk latte was simple and subtle in flavor. On another occasion when I was lunching with a friend visiting from Texas, I went with the turmeric spice blend tea which seriously soothed and comforted me.
If you’re into healthier food, the menu at Opuntia is wide-reaching and offers vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat dishes for the carnivorous ones. For more details on their food program, visit the Healthier Bites page.
If you are into tea, don’t you dare leave town without a stop at The Teahouse. No matter where your tastes land on the global tea spectrum–and it is a huge spectrum–you’ll be grateful to land at The Teahouse where you can explore new leaves, such as Pu-Ehr or oolong or maybe try the Himalayan Snowflake or play it safe and stick with your favorite black tea.
Conveniently located near the end of Canyon Road, The Teahouse is much more than just a teahouse. Open from 9 am until 9 pm, you can start your day here with a hearty breakfast, slide in to catch your breath and recover from shopping and sightseeing on the famous Canyon Road, have lunch or return for a romantic dinner. For more information on how their kitchen performs, visit the Healthier Bites page.
Being a matcha girl, I started with the turmeric ginger matcha latte with almond milk. It was an incredible balance of flavors and the standard bright green color was laced with the slightest kick from the turmeric and ginger. It went down so easily, I ventured to test my second favorite Rooibos chai tea with almond milk and it was equally sensational. Robust yet smooth and a touch of sweetness clenched the deal for this to be my new go-to tea house.
But The Teahouse is surprisingly substantially more than just a teahouse. It’s a restaurant and it’s one of our new favorites.
The next time you are strolling Canyon Road and need a respite from the galleries and shopping, slide into the sanctuary of the patio at The Teahouse where you can savor an incredible array of teas along with a snack or a delicious meal, no matter what time of day it may be.