News & Publications
Tea Time Tavakoli
December 20, 2010
"Tea comes from one plant. All of the flavors depend upon how you process it. I have heard people don't like tea but there are so many different types; there has to be one out there for everyone."
Lisa Tavakoli '81, owner of Hallowed Herbs and Tea, wants to debunk the misconceptions we consumers have about tea. Since opening her tea house in July 2008 she has tried to educate the community about the ins and outs of tea. The small Quincy teahouse is more than what it appears, it is an experience to educate through various sensory examples.
The business itself is housed in an 1850's style Greek revival home. "It has large columns and is deceiving; people think it's a house," Tavakoli said. Upon entering, along with an assortment of loose leaf teas, the open space has a fixed table room to seat up to 15 guests. To gain the full experience, Tavakoli prepares each guest's choice of tea individually; she has it down to recreational chemistry. "Many people don't realize that good tea takes time. Usually a little patience goes a long way," she adds.
Tavakoli's passion for tea is no accident: it was fostered through her tea-drinking experiences she has shared with her friends. Her interest in the business developed from there. Tavakoli understood the beauty of herbalism as well as the sense-oriented experience involved with sipping tea. She wanted to start a business and, naturally, since she was hooked on tea, she believed her passion could turn into a profession. With her personal touch and flair for education, Tavakoli is able to separate herself from the other tea companies.
Her business has changed since its inception in 2008. "I started with reservations and started offering lunches. Eventually I had to stop due to a struggling economy, but I adapted again by making signature scones and selling an experience," Tavakoli said.
As an herbalist, Tavakoli business has been able to thrive. Tavakoli experiments with her supply of loose leaf teas and keeps a top product on her shelves. "My company is unique because we welcome differences in blends; tea changes with the seasons so we try to accommodate that," Tavakoli said.
Tavakoli hosts a variety of events in her tea house. Anything is possible. Most recently the tea house hosted a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. "It is a holiday event and I encourage everyone to branch out," Tavakoli said. For the holidays her favorite teas include a Cinnamon Oolong, a Darjeeling and a customer favorite Ginger Peach. "Ginger peach has this warming sensation about it. I'm not talking about just the hot water, ginger is naturally an immune system booster to help us through the colder months," Tavakoli said.
Hallowed Herbs tea house has also begun hosting classes to teach new tea experts. "Ultimately my goal is to educate and work to improve people's lives. This business became a dream of mine and I believe through my work I have fulfilled it," Tavoli said. Tavakoli hope she can educate her customers and provide tea for them in the right setting - where it can be a sensory experience and truly enjoyed one sip at a time - the way it should be.
Written by Brian Yepez '11, an intern with the Office of Alumni Relations