For the longest time, students, professors, visitors, and locals swilled tea at Tealuxe, a cozy cafe on Thayer Street. But after 25 years, a new tea shop has taken its place. Ceremony, the sister brick-and-mortar business of the online shop Leafy Green Tea, is now open to the public, providing Thayer-goers with an experience that’s unlike anything else in this city.
The shop’s name is aptly chosen for the ritual it provides. When Michelle Cheng started her original business, Leafy Green, she made frequent trips to Asia to meet with the farmers who grew the tea she stocked. Each time she went, she would partake in tea ceremonies as a way to taste the products. Her experiences during these visits are what she hopes to replicate with this store. Says Michelle, “Our goal is to improve the access to premium single origin teas, while both upholding traditional values and introducing new ways of drinking tea to the modern consumer.”
All of Ceremony’s teas are brought over from China, Taiwan, and Japan from single-estate farms. Michelle makes sure that all of her tea leaves are sustainably grown and she ensures that they work with farmers to “select small lots of leaves that can be traced directly to their source.” This ensures that both Leafy Green and Ceremony can be part of the tea-making process, from farm to teahouse table.
So, what can you expect at a tea ceremony? The process is much different from Western countries we often associate with tea like Great Britain and Ireland. Rather than corrupting the product with milk, Ceremony uses a large amount of tea leaves with a small amount of water and very short steeps. This allows the drinker to taste the tea at different strengths. You can also find to-go items like hand-whisked matcha, tea spritz, and Chinese pastries on the menu.