This isn’t the average tea shop where you waltz in and immediately are greeted by a gleeful and pressurized robotic attendant anxiously waiting to take your order. This is the antithesis of that experience – and that’s a good thing unless of course, you enjoy being treated like a number.
Sarah Roberts, the owner of Homegrown Herb and Tea is equally responsible for the attention of the devoted followers who regularly make a visit to her shop a part of their routine. The tea is fresh and delicious which is only half of the story as to why people love it here. In addition to creating tea blends that satisfy the curious palette, Sarah is known as the local practitioner of medicinal hand blended herbal teas. You walk in feeling drained from a long night of work or play and Sarah will ask you a few questions and suggest a tea to make you feel better. This is often accompanied with an explanation of what the specific herbs in the blend will do to help you out.
In addition to the variety of loose teas available by the cup or bagged individually or loose for home use, and Sarah’s way of making everyone feel at home in her shop with her wisdom and anecdotes, you’ll also notice the camaraderie she has with her patrons. If you are able to sit at the counter, you’re in for a special treat. You get to observe Sara, the tea artist as she blends her teas using mortar and pestle, a wooden scoop, a metal grater, and a good sharp knife. The loose tea is kept in bags which are organized in an old wooden apothecary on the back wall of her prep area behind the counter. The tea is served in locally made mugs with lids for steeping and a small spoon for stirring. She often uses dried flowers, roots, stems, pieces of fresh fruit, berries, bark, etc. as part of the blends. The chalkboard above the sink hosts a seasonal menu of tea blend offerings. In addition to these specials, there is a long paper menu showcasing her classic blends.
Homegrown Herb and Tea is a relatively unassuming shop from the outside and in some ways still under-the-radar both because of it’s location in a neighborhood setting away from most of the tourists and also because the shop’s storefront isn’t as flashy as most cafés with their hefty branding and obvious signage. Homegrown Herb & Tea is way more casual on first impressions which ties-in well with the overall experience of the shop.
As soon as you walk through the door, you realize you’ve left frenetic activity and time behind. The shop is dimly lit (often naturally lit) and relaxed with local art on the walls, usually some songwriter music playing at a light to medium level, herbal / medicinal plants occupy one of the front street-facing windows of the shop while the other window provides seating for two. There is a medium-sized wooden counter/bar with about 4 wooden stools. Additional seating consists of a pillowed bench along a wall with good-sized tree logs set on end for tables, a cozy nook in the back of the shop with more pillowed bench seating surrounded by books on travel, tea, medicine, ayurvedic cooking, etc. Adjacent to this nook is a separate room off of the main room which serves as a more intimate or semi-private gathering spot for friends with a beaded closure/curtain, pillows on low bench seating surrounding a tea table in the middle and a large graphic mural on the walls. It’s a great place to come and unwind with a fresh cup of steeped tea and perhaps gain some free knowledge in the process.
If you’re planning on a visit, make sure you have ample time to sit and relax, engage in conversation, and above all – enjoy your tea slowly. Word to the wise, if you are expecting a fast-food experience where you get waited on immediately and receive your order in an assembly line way, you could be disappointed. Sara is on her own clock and because she’s often the sole employee taking care of everyone in the shop, it can require patience… but just remember, good things come to those who wait. With the way the world is going these days with everything happening so quickly and the pushing and shoving that goes along with that mode, this little gem of a shop is an oasis. It’ll teach you how to breathe easy again and enjoy taking your time – if you open yourself up to Sara’s world, you’ll likely make some new friends and learn something positive about yourself in the process.