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Welcome to the East Side. We're Closed.

This morning Shelly and I headed over the East Side to pick up a book from the Bellevue Regional library. We were expecting a fairly smooth transaction: enter library, get book, leave library. It was not to be.

The library doesn't open until 1, and we got there at 12:30. Fine. We wandered off in search of chai, but apparently Bellevue is only open for business on weekdays. Every Starbucks we walked past was closed, and we were just giving up and falling into recrimination and counter-propaganda when we found the Belvi Roasting Company. It's a hole in the wall, just southwest of the library grounds. There were open, friendly, and chatty, and even had a friendly dog on the premises. Better yet, they had Golden Pu-Ehr, a very fancy Chinese tea. Pu-Ehr is the only aged tea (some varieties up to 50 or 100 years), and really it is one of those varieties that only connoisseurs care about. I tried a cup of the 5-year Pu-Ehr, and it was much darker than black tea, with an earthy taste I don't usually expect from tea. Supposedly it has medicinal value in lowering cholesterol, but I think I'll stick with my green sencha.

If you want to give it a try in Seattle proper, try the Tea House Kuan Yin in Wallingford, open until 11 or midnight every day.

Belvi closed shortly after we left, but at least we've found one coffee shop open on the East Side.

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