Situated in the middle of Hoi An, Vietnam’s Ancient Town, Reaching Out Teahouse serves as a peaceful escape from the area’s tourist-laden shops and selfie stick-congested street corners. Immediately upon entering the cafe, you’re greeted with complete silence – a novelty in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tableside conversations – if there are any at all – are kept at a low whisper.
Reaching Out Teahouse is run by hearing and speech impaired employees, so communicating through friendly gestures and smiles goes a long way. Word blocks and note pads are also provided to help maintain the uniquely serene ambience.
The teahouse is part of a larger mission to help people with disabilities. Reaching Out is a social enterprise comprised of the teahouse and a craft shop (also in Hoi An), both of which aim to employ those with impairments.
Founded by Lê Nguyên Bình, a man with disabilities himself, and his wife Quyen, Reaching Out strives to foster a positive working environment where people with disabilities can have an impact on their community through empowerment and independence. Together, Bình and his wife have helped employ more than 70 people with disabilities, allowing them to showcase their artisanal talents and warm hospitality.
Great cause aside, the teahouse also has a warm, tranquil ambience. Inside of the cafe, no detail is overlooked. Intricately carved wood decor and impressive handmade tableware make for a picturesque setting fit for any tea party. The back houses a small garden, which lets natural light into the cafe and allows for lush greenery to creep through, adorning the walls and benches. All of these elements come together to create a rustic, yet traditionally Vietnamese, aesthetic.
The menu is as intricate and well-thought out as the design. There’s an array of teas and coffees available, sourced from all over Vietnam, like Arabica coffee grown in Dalat and organic oolong tea from the Central Highlands. Each tea or coffee order is plated with acute attention to detail, as shown by the assortment of delicate accessories like flower-shaped tea strainers, gold coffee drips and painted porcelain cookie platters.
Tasting sets are even more elaborate, allowing patrons to sample three teas or coffees, served on a tray filled with more fancy paraphernalia to hold your tea leaves, milk sweeteners and cookies.
Much of the ornate tableware used at the teahouse is handmade at the craft shop, and is exclusively available in Hoi An. Beyond creating a unique experience for visitors, Reaching Out is an enterprise that seeks to strengthen its local community. And as the organization puts it, it’s a “gift that gives twice.”
While Hoi An is a buzzy beach town filled with resorts and seaside spas, rest and relaxation doesn’t always need to be on a lounge chair. This oasis away from tourist-trap establishments allows you to take a leisurely break and enjoy the comforts of true tranquility – the experience at Reaching Out Teahouse speaks for itself.