This winter, Yalies craving a hot beverage to ward off the chill will now have a new option available to them: a shop that specializes in tea.
Known as the Green Teahouse, the shop opened its doors on Friday at 1008 Chapel Street — neighboring Basta Trattoria. The New Haven location is the second for the teashop — the first, in West Hartford, was opened in 2009 by sister-and-brother-duo Ting Chaponis and Wei Luo. The shop will sell a medley of freshly brewed loose leaf teas, sweet and savory accompaniments and various tea accessories, such as pots and strainers.
“We saw how much benefit tea can bring to someone’s life, such as harmony and peace,” co-owner Chaponis said. “Of course in China, we have our tea houses which are doing very well, but we wanted to have American people benefit.”
The New Haven location will feature about 50 kinds of tea, including loose leaf and powdered varieties. The store will also distribute free tea samples directly outside.
Inside the shop, customers can sample several varieties of tea before deciding on what to buy.
“It’s like wine tasting,” Chaponis said.
The Green Teahouse, however, does not only sell tea. Customers will also be treated to a homemade tea cookie with every order. They will also have the option of ordering traditional Asian snack foods, such as noodles, rice, tofu and edamame. Chaponis said that the store is to be health-conscious and will try to serve vegan and gluten free foods and organic tea blends.
Customers can sample the tea styles from a variety of cultures: Chinese, Japanese and even English tea, which is served with finger sandwiches coupled with scones, jam, and cream. For those interested in exploring the Chinese tea culture, appointments with a maximum of five in the party can be made to experience a tea ceremony at the shop.
“This is so we can have people really learn about how Chinese people appreciate tea … and about the philosophy of the tea that brings you a very peaceful life,” Chaponis said.
The West Hartford location also provides tea ceremonies, but focuses more on retail, offering more than 100 varieties of tea. Chaponis said that the shop, which received the Hartford Advocate’s Best of Hartford award for Best Tea House in 2013, is very popular.
Due to the success of the first shop, the owners decided to expand to New Haven.
“We found that New Haven has a really rich culture,” Chaponis said. “We wanted to be able to offer good quality tea especially for the Yale students who are very well-educated and more into a healthy lifestyle.”
Additionally, the New Haven location will provide plenty of seating — something the West Hartford store lacked. Chaponis said she hopes the seating will provide a suitable studying environment for students.
Four students interviewed said they are excited about the new addition to New Haven’s café scene.
“I would say that there’s a few big names, but I think it will be nice to have something on Chapel Street that isn’t Starbucks,” said Stephanie Tomasson ’16, a staff columnist for the News.
There are several other cafes on Chapel St., said Sophia Yoo ’14 — but, she added, the store’s focus on tea might attract a different clientele.
Chaponis said she is not too concerned about the competition with other shops.
“I think we are offering a very unique environment,” she said. “The coffee shop is very traditional around the United States, and we don’t offer coffee at all.”
The Green Teahouse plans to be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.