Townshend’s puts the “Tea” in Montana

Two weeks ago, on Thursday, April 10, a new drink shop opened in Bozeman — Townshend’s Bozeman Teahouse. As a tea drinker, it can often be difficult to find a good study or hangout spot that serves great tea drinks for hot and cold weather, but with the addition of Townshend’s into Main Street Bozeman, a much needed service was provided.


The environment of the teahouse is bright, open and comfortable. Large windows allow for tons of natural light and some great people watching. The seating ranges from cozy, antique arm chairs and couches to more traditional dining chairs and small tables which allow visitors to either relax and chat while melting into their warm cup of fresh-brewed tea or to remain alert and comfortable while attempting to complete homework. The soft music treads the delicate balance between elevator music and too distracting with precision, providing a pleasant backdrop to the relaxed environment. Like most Bozeman coffee shops, Townshend’s displays local art. Free Wi-Fi and long hours (8 a.m. – 10 p.m., seven days a week) make it a particularly great accommodation for college students.


The owners, Scott and Melissa Herron, are often at work behind the counter. Originally from Salt Lake City and Livingston, respectively, the two of them went to college in Portland and got involved with Townshend’s Tea Company. When they moved to Bozeman, they decided to bring Townshend’s with them and open its first out-of-Oregon location.


Let’s get to the important part — tea. Townshend’s offers 108 different teas, not including bubble tea. This tea ranges from black, green, white and oolong to chai, yerba máte and rooibos to herbal apothecary teas and bubble tea. Any tea (with the exception of bubble tea) can be made as a latte, or traditionally as hot or iced tea. All of their teas are brewed in house and made to order, and can be purchased as loose leaf teas to take home. Many are even organic.


They also offer some stranger teas, including kava root teas and Kombucha. Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is rich in probiotics. Townshend’s offers eight flavors. They have two kava root tea drinks: straight kava root tea and Matejuana, which includes yerba mate tea and tastes earthly and is more palatable than pure kava root tea. Kava root is supposed to help relax you, but may make your mouth numb. It has a strong, dirt-like flavor and comes with a warning that it is “not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.” While these odder teas are not quite my preference, they can be quite fun to try, especially if you are feeling adventurous.


Their apothecary teas are also fun to try and claim to help with everything from colds to pain to mood to metabolism. The “Clear Mind” tea I tried was pleasant and refreshing and included ingredients like sage, peppermint, rosemary and gingko.


Until Townshend’s opened, bubble tea simply didn’t exist in Bozeman. Which was really too bad, because bubble tea is a great summer drink. Generally served cold, flavored tea is enhanced with milk and tapioca pearls. Townshend’s elaborates on this by not only allowing for 22 different flavors, but also a choice of hot or cold and a choice between tapioca pearls, fruit jellies and aloe jellies. Townshend’s also uses non-dairy creamer and other milk options in their bubble teas.


I particularly enjoyed their green and black tea lattes; my favorite was suggested to me by owner Melissa Herron, rose petal black tea latte with soy. They offer lots of milk alternatives, including coconut, rice and soy milk, which is nice if you are lactose intolerant. They also sell selected locally made pastries and have vegan and gluten-free options.


Townshend’s is a great place to study for those last few finals, catch up with graduating friends or just relax and start on your summer reading. Be sure to drop by, and if you’re a bit overwhelmed by their selection, they offer a tea-sniffing wall so you can smell what you’ll be drinking, or ask the staff for a recommendation. So take a break from all the end-of-semester stress and grab a cup or a pot to enjoy some afternoon tea.