If I’m being perfectly honest, Hoi An wasn’t as charming as I was expecting it to be. Yes, the mustard yellow walls and colorful sampans in Old Town are beautiful, but they’re filled in with souvenir and tailor shops. The sidewalks are crowded with stands and tourists, with the number increasing as it gets closer to night. It’s interesting, but it’s not what I think of when I’m told a place is charming. While the town as a whole didn’t enchant me, I did find that there were many places or moments, where I did fall a little in love with this city, and visiting Reaching Out Tea House was one of them.
Along busy Tran Phu Street and tucked between tailor shops, the moment you step into the tea house, everything suddenly slows down. It really is a tranquil oasis, as it claims, in the middle of a hectic area. It’s exactly what my travel buddy, Michelle, and I needed. The walls are painted this pale blue color, the decor is colorful and inviting, and there is an emphasis on peaceful silence. There is no wi-fi, and to keep the atmosphere, there are little boxes on tables with pre-written phrases in English as well as a notepad and paper for writing notes to the servers. This quietness helps one to focus on enjoying the fresh coffee, tea, and juices while taking a moment of rest.
I love Reaching Out Tea House on two fronts. One is that it employs speaking and hearing impaired servers, thus creating job opportunities, and the second is that it focuses on fair trade, organic, and local products. Michelle and I sat down to do some coffee tasting while I also got a fresh orange juice. Our coffee came with fresh snacks and was just delicious in general. They even gave us coffee ice cubes so should we want iced coffee, it wouldn’t dilute the taste.
In addition to the tea house, there is a craft shop and souvenir store that maintains strong ethics in paying its employees and the artisans who contribute. We stopped by to pick up a few items (including a teapot necklace that I’m in love with), and over all left feeling perfectly content. Michelle even left buzzing with inspiration for her own coffee shop some day.
Have you been? What are you some of your favorite experiences with ethical establishments?
Words and Photographs by Samantha