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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Worldly’ teahouse opens on University Boulevard

    A certain calmness envelopes the entire shop with soft baby blue and teal walls. The words “Scented Leaf Tea House” displayed on wooden blocks in metallic lettering sit on the front counter next to a smiling, golden Buddha statue who seems to greet customers as they enter. On the right wall, a variety of teas are displayed in boxes while on the left are soft, cream-colored couches next to sturdy wooden tables with candles in the center. A few of the chairs are red and blue metal, which is the only aspect that does not seem to flow with the rest of the atmosphere.

    Welcome to the Scented Leaf, a teahouse that serves premium teas and baked goods, which opened on East University Boulevard on June 27. While the UA and downtown areas feature plenty of different brewed beverage shops, the Scented Leaf is the closest place to the University that primarily sells tea. Students need only take a few steps off campus.

    On a trip to Spain, Scented Leaf owners Shane Barela and his wife Adrienne Barela, came across a teashop “off the beaten path” and discovered the brewed delight in its pure, full-leaf form.
    “I was pretty amazed right off the bat that I was always drinking bagged tea instead of whole leaf,” said Barela.

    After being told of the degenerating process tealeaves go through in order to be put into little bags, the Barelas decided to open a shop back home that offered only the purest of loose-leaf teas. Already the owners of a perfume shop on University Boulevard, they began to add onto that store, rather than building an entirely new shop. Then, when an opportunity arose to open a full-fledged teahouse at a location closer to the UA, the Barelas quickly seized it.

    “We have stuff from around the world that we want to introduce to people,” Barela said.

    He explained that, while most teashops center on one region or one specific country, the Scented Leaf is more “worldly” and offers teas from many different countries. South African rooibos, Japanese and Indian are just a few choices. Within these regions, a number of different kinds of teas are cultivated. The Scented Leaf offers such types as green, white, oolong, herbal, maté and the list goes on.

    “Everything’s made to order, all steeped fresh,” Barela said.
    Rich Nickerson, a barista at Espresso Art Café across the street, says that it will be easier to gage competition between the two shops once school starts in the fall. “For me, I wouldn’t say ‘worry’, but it plays in the back of my head with another lounge on University that serves brewed drinks,” said Nickerson. “But that’s just something you have to deal with.”

    The Scented Leaf offers high-quality tea, coffee, soups, breads, pies and pastries, occasionally accompanied by live music.

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