Strolling along Fifth Avenue in downtown Olympia, you come upon a unique sight: a magnolia tree nestled within a beautiful, airy atrium inside a building. This 1875 building has a storied history. It was once home to a mercantile store, followed by numerous nightclubs. And it has a distinct claim to fame from the more recent past. It hosted Dave Grohl in his debut in the band Nirvana.
With a past as colorful as this, it is no wonder the space is now sanctuary to a delightful store that caters to more subdued pastimes: Encore Chocolates & Teas. Owners Dean and Carla Jones enjoy whisking patrons away to lands of terraced mountainsides, spice markets, and forested regions through the sheer variety of chocolates and teas they have on display.
In the space since 2015, the Joneses offer over 215 varieties of teas sourced from 12 different tea purveyors. It is easy to get lost in the scent jars, which are arranged on the wall in black, green, white and herbal sections. This way patrons can determine for themselves which particular tea is just the right one. Once the desired tea has been selected, the friendly staff portions out the loose-leaf tea, including proper brewing instructions.
The chocolate selections are no less varied and scrumptious. Samples are ready for the tasting on request.
While the chocolates and tea alone are a compelling reason to shop at Encore, Dean Jones adds to the experience by bringing humanity to the products. A natural storyteller, he provides patrons a glimpse into the journey the chocolate and tea have gone through to become the exceptional finds they are. Visitors leave feeling a little more connected with the world, one chocolate bar and tea cup at a time.
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Encore Chocolates and Teas
116 5th Ave SE, Olympia