It’s in the leaves

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Feeling exhausted? Stressed? Physically tense? Leo Hickman believes in the power of tea to cure what ails you. The owner of Hidden House, an alternative wellness center in Midtown, opened up a second outpost of his Classy Hippie Cafe a couple of weeks ago. The first location is actually inside his health center; the second is inside the Midtown Collective (1914 P Street), a group of boutiques sharing one roof anchored by the Firefly Exchange. Hickman approaches tea from an Eastern, Ayurvedic mentality. He even has special teas to balance your doshas. (If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it.) Hickman's passion lies in the leaves, which he insists must be loose and given plenty of room to expand. And he steeps them for a mere 30 seconds, only seeking that initial infusion of flavors. A cup-to-go costs $3.50, but if you want to take advantage of one of four seats inside, you can pour from pot to a one-ounce, warmed tasting cup. As Hickman says: “Coffee is fast. Tea is slow. … It's liquid meditation.”