Greensboro, North Carolina-based tea shop Vida pour Tea offers a serene tea experience that centers around wellness. Located just North of downtown Greensboro in a historical building that was built in the 1930s, it is a good place for de-stressing and taking time for oneself.
Owner Sarah Chapman’s introduction to tea happened while she was an adolescent in Upstate New York. She was an avid ice hockey player and used to have tea with her dad after matches. “Our ritual was going out to Chinese and Japanese restaurants wherever we traveled and my favorite thing to do in the cold weather was drink tea. It was like my reward after games. Tea holds a special significance for me and it’s a thing of comfort,” said Chapman. Tea helped relieve her anxiety and soothe her stomach.
Chapman graduated from college in Greensboro, North Carolina and though Afternoon tea and sweet tea were available, she noticed the simple access to high-quality tea was missing.
During her studies in the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Apparel Product Design and Merchandizing program she studied abroad in Thailand where she learned about its clothing industry, “That really got me interested in trying to find a way to work with fair trade, specifically,” said Chapman.
Additionally, her allergies inspired her to study under a naturopath and learn more about health and wellness.
She initially worked in graphic design and then began sharing her love of tea by teaching people about it in their homes and hosting tea tastings at local businesses. She taught about the tea plant itself, as well as herbal teas and the potential benefits of each component of a blend. She wanted to make tea’s wellness benefits accessible to everyone.
She decided create space that brought tea and wellness together in a comfortable and calming environment—a space that embodies the feelings tea induces. She opened Vida pour Tea in July of 2014. The name is a play on the Spanish saying, “Vida por ti,” which means “life for you.” “The name combines the tea and wellness aspects and fit perfectly for me,” Chapman said.
Chapman has just over 100 teas and tisanes in her inventory and prioritizes sourcing organic, fair trade teas from about 15 distributors. “There is something for everybody,” said Chapman, who offers a variety of teas from high-end pu-erhs to her own blends, such as “Apple Pie.” She assists her customers who need guidance towards certain teas that can help with different health issues to create a customized wellness experience. Customers can also create their own custom blends based upon their needs. Currently, the most popular tea is one that is meant to help with allergies.
“I think my tea house is different because it’s almost like a reverse coffee shop. It’s done in a way that is casual,” said Chapman.
The tea shop has well-spaced tables in the front where people can relax or work, if they choose. A wellness lounge resides in the back where people study, meet for book clubs, and practice kirtan. The clientele is eclectic and includes students, men and women. “Every type of person you could imagine is there and is happy to be there and unwind,” said Chapman.
She also sells gluten free and vegan treats sourced from local bakeries, as well as teaware, locally made pottery, tea towels and skin care products containing tea.
“I hope customers feel like they’ve found a place that is their spot that they enjoy and want to share with a special friend or family, a space that makes them feel comfortable and where they can slow down a little bit and really trust the ingredients in everything from the food to the tea and body care items,” said Chapman.