The Sampler at
Sweetea’s Tea Shop
The taking of tea is something more than just refreshment—it is an institution, a ritual, a hallmark of civilization.
In our modern, go-go culture that gulps five-dollar coffee on the run from cardboard cups, slugs down 800-ounce Sloshies, or guzzles mysterious “energy” drinks, it would seem to be good for us to occasionally press life’s “pause” button and take the time to sit in a nicely appointed, comfortable room and have a little fresh-brewed-tea in a real china cup.
Accordingly, I conveyed myself to Coachlight Square, down on the south end of town, and presented myself at Sweetea’s Tea Shop, the local destination of choice for tea aficionados, as well as those who just like a relaxing break that involves tasty treats.
Sweetea’s has over 40 different varieties of tea, and sampling is free—they even have a “sniffing bar” to “experience tea in a new way.”
Their tea experts will help you find a favorite tea, and share their knowledge of how to properly prepare it in your own home.
And if you are attracted to the tea lifestyle, the shop is loaded with all of the accessories and accoutrements required to pursue a proper tea in your own humble abode.
At Sweetea’s, you experience tea as it should be: fresh and made to order just for you and brought to your table, poured from a real pot with a little tealight underneath to keep it warm.
There’s hot tea in a pot or to go, iced tea, bubble tea, lattes or hot chocolate, iced coffee, and lemonade. You can also add a shot of espresso to any drink.
The amazing variety of available teas is somewhat mind-boggling. You could spend the next couple of months there and never repeat yourself, with black teas, green teas, white teas, oolongs, rooibos, yerba matte, and something called pu-ehr, a “Scottish caramel toffee.”
Sweetea’s also offers “Grandma Mimi’s” teas, made in Brown County, with names like “friendship,” and “sniffles.” Also, Niyama herbal teas for wellness, energy, and women’s wellness.
It is an article of faith at Sweetea’s that “ladies of all ages love a tea party” and on most afternoons you will find groups of them, large and small, gathering in friendly camaraderie over pots of tea and other tasty treats.
But you also see quiet tête-à-têtes, and there are plenty of cozy corners to curl up alone and spend a few hours sipping a beverage and reading, or maybe soaking up some free Wi-Fi.
Sweetea’s is perfect for birthday parties, bridal showers, girl’s weekends away, and book clubs and they can also help with catering needs, or handle the details for a tea party you might want to have.
There’s a special corner with all the furnishings and accessories for a children’s tea party, including little pots of tea and finger sandwiches.
I expected scones, of course, and I wasn’t disappointed—ginger/almond and orange/cranberry. The big glass pastry case also included cookies, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, and cake pops.
There is also a raft of savory lunch items on the menu at Sweetea’s including a chicken salad plate with pita bread, hummus with vegetables, soup, and quiche.
Also, of course, tea sandwiches.
I wavered between the Italian wedding soup and Minestrone, finally deciding on the latter, and selected the spinach and mushroom quiche.
For tea, I chose what even I must admit is the most boring and obvious variety—good old orange pekoe. I know that isn’t a very daring selection in the face of 40 tea choices and probably reveals something deep and irreversible about my personality. But that’s what I was in the mood for.
“Above all, to thine own self be true,” as the Bard observed.
But the ensuing cup of tea was a revelation, one of those, “oh yeah, that’s what it’s supposed to taste like,” moments.
Then came the quiche, warm and gooey with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, a thick layer of spinach, and just a hint of fennel, which really set it off nicely. Really good.
The soup was likewise tasty and satisfying.
Taking tea is a genteel proposition. When you sit down to tea with someone, there is an implicit understanding that it will be pleasant encounter, a polite, not-threatening, non-confrontational interlude.
My orange/cranberry scone was slightly warmed and served with a little thimble of clotted cream. It was, I must admit, simply delicious and deeply satisfying.
The taking of tea requires an undefined and situational amount of time. It should not be done on rigid schedule, but according to the whim of the aware moment.
It gives one time to reflect.
Perhaps we could all use a soothing, relaxing moment of the day set aside to simply pause briefly and reflect on the beauty and importance of the simple things in life.
Sweetea’s is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.