A Cup of Tea

You can choose from Czech beer, absinth or other more esoteric concoctions, but no matter what your choice of poison, it seems safe to say that both visitors and residents of Prague are fond of mood altering substances. If by chance, however, your response to the above is, "not my cup of tea", and you're more interested in enhancing your mood than altering your state of awareness, Prague still has a great deal to offer. When you find yourself in need of a quick change of pace, perhaps a visit to an authentic tearoom for a quiet moment of relaxation, escape and reflection is just what you need.


Located halfway between Karlovo Námesti and Palackeho namesti, this small and anonymous tearoom has a lot to offer in the way of atmosphere and ambience. When you step through the door the aroma of incense and spices instantly pervades the senses. The bamboo covered walls, hanging lanterns and pleasantly laid out seating arrangement are pleasing to the eyes and the soft new age music provides the kind of aural stimulation that you would expect from such an establishment.

The front room is fairly straightforward, offering standard café style furniture. But when you step into the back room you'll notice a slightly raised area enclosed by curtains on three sides with pillows surrounding a central hookah pipe (a hookah is a big water pipe); such paraphernalia is a standard feature of many Prague tearooms.

Daruma offers a surprisingly large selection of teas considering its size. Teas from no less than a dozen countries can be found on the menu and you will be able to choose from Indian, Nepalese, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and African teas, among others. Prices range from 42CZK to about 90CZK for a 0.4l pot of tea. If you need something to snack on while you're sipping your tea, a small selection of food is also available. The menu features couscous (68CZK), pita bread (45CZK) and other snacks. If that's not enough for you, games are on the menu - you can choose from the ancient game of GO, backgammon and many others.

Cajovna Tearooms
Cajovna Šiva is part of a group of tearooms that has four locations in Prague. Although the Prague 1 location is just a few minutes walk from the hustle, the bustle and the commercialism of Old Town square, it manages to achieve a fairly authentic atmosphere; but the adjoining shop reminds us where we are. Be sure to check out the downstairs subterranean room for the pillow cushioned alcoves and hookah pipes.

Cajovna U Dvou šálku is the Prague 2 location of this group and it is steeped in both ambience and tea culture. Those seeking a real change of pace will probably find its less polished approach more to their liking than the Old Town location. Upon entering and seeing the more rustic decor, you begin to realize that you've left the commercialism of 21st century Prague far behind. Nonetheless, a counter and a wall full of all sorts of teas dominate the front room; a wide variety of teas, tea related products and hookahs are for sale. Continue towards the back and you'll find three delightful rooms filled with Oriental rugs, Indian wall hangings and bamboo furniture.

After removing your shoes and choosing either a smoking room filled with hookahs and cushions, or a non-smoking room, the ambience takes over. Classic rock from the 1960s presents a quiet backdrop to the subdued lighting and the aroma of incense and spices. Nico softly serenades a room filled with people that weren't yet born back in 1967 when she made the scene with the Velvet Underground.

Apart from the ambience, Cajovna U Dvou šálku stands out for the quality of its menu (available in English). The teas are grouped into green teas and black teas and the menu explains the tea making process along with the virtues of each different tea; prices begin at 34CZK for a 0.3l pot. Other drinks are available, including infusions, ice teas, herbal teas, fruit teas, and the South American 'mate'. Not much is available in the way of food, but tea pastries (28CZK), couscous (57CZK - 68CZK) and other snacks are available.

Restaurants & Tea
A little bit of exploration can also turn up some restaurants with a large selection of teas. Dahab and Maly Buddha are two of the most noteworthy. Centrally located Dahab offers a selection of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and North African teas, alongside a menu filled with North African and Mediterranean dishes. Across the river, Maly Buddha is at the top of the hill not far from Prague castle. Although good Asian food is on the menu, Maly Buddha describes itself as an oriental tearoom. Its menu offers over 50 different teas and for once that description is right on the money. The staff knows their stuff and they'll be able to recommend teas for any sort of predilection.

So there you have it, a recipe for a temporary escape from Prague, or maybe a cure for sensory overload. Whatever it is you seek, perhaps in the tearoom ye shall find.

More Info:

Na Moráni 11, Prague 2
Mo - Fr: 9:00-23:00
Sa - Su: 14:00-23:00
Tel: 603 193 505
Cajovna Siva
Masná 8
120 00 Prague 2
Daily: 12:00 - 24:00
Tel : 222 315 983
Cajovna U Dvou šálku
Blanická 8
120 00 Prague 2
Mo - Fr: 11:00 - 23:00
Sa: 14:00 - 24:00
Su: 14:00 - 23:00
Tel: 222 515 222

Maly Buddha
Uvoz 46
186 00 Prague 1
Tel: 220 513 894

Dlouhá 33
110 00 Prague 1
Daily: 12:00 - 01:00
Tel: 224 827 375