Growing up overseas, I was able to taste and see many areas of the in South East Asia. I fell in love with traveling, cooking, and learning about different cultures, so when it came time to choose a major for college, I decided to do Hospitality Administration and Boston University seemed like a great place to study that. So off to Boston I went. Once while spending time in Harvard Square, I found this cute little shop called Tealuxe and decided to check it out. After spending much time looking over the menu, I decided to purchase a flavored black tea. I brought it home and brewed up a cup of tea and loved it. That moment began my tea journey. Many dollars later and college being over, I decided to move to Philadelphia. At that point opening up some sort of shop was already in the back of my mind. I had lots of ideas but didn't ever settle. My friend and I talked many times about opening up something...first it was a bakery in Boston, then a Wedding coordinating business, and then a cafe of some sort but nothing ever came to fruition. After moving to Philly several opportunities to open up a shop came and went partially because I never felt like I wanted to settle there.
Two years into moving to Philadelphia, I had a Eureka! moment of opening up a cafe and thought "but I don't like coffee…but I LOVE tea!" So I came up with opening a tea shop. A friend of mine was enrolled at a cooking school and she brought some information to me about opening up a Tea Shop. She gave me a Uker's Guide. In it was a whole bunch of information about tea vendors and suppliers. Soon after, I had a chance to visit China. I decided to e-mail one of the suppliers, in the guide, located in Beijing. She got back to me and we met while I was there.
After trying some samples and placing an order, I began working with tea, packaging and sending out corporate gifts. After doing that for two years I decided to look into opening up a shop. I had grown up spending time in Sandy, Oregon and heard there was a small retail property on the market. I decided to take the risk and purchase it.
A member of the Specialty Tea Institute, sadly I can't put certified tea specialist as I missed Oolong in Vegas. I have already taken 2 level four classes and plan to graduate as a Certified Tea Specialist this year.
Chariteas Chariteas' Blog Facebook