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My husband and I recently traveled to overseas in search of information and guidance as we embark on our next grand adventure, opening a European style tea room behind our existing retail store, Revival. Some of the tea rooms and salons were planned visits, carefully selected from research done prior to leaving, others were spontaneous visits. Planned or not, what we found was that “taking tea” is an experience that will take every bit of wisdom and knowledge we gained in order to translate it successfully in to our brisk-paced, fast food environment.

The whole idea of taking time to refresh, relax, and recharge is something we read about, even idealize, but in our “we can have it all” culture, rarely carry off with aplomb.Worldwide, tea is the most popular beverage except for water. But in the U.S.? Tea is 6th, behind water, soft drinks, coffee, beer, and milk (yes, beer is 4th, ahead of milk). There are many things I do not envy about European culture: antiquated plumbing, confusing street names, and yes their currency. (My husband accidentally handed an English clerk a euro and it was promptly returned to him with the remark, “we only accept real money here, sir.”) The beautiful demonstrations of genuine love and affection between family and friends, the efficient and punctual public transport, and the priority given to quality meals and times of relaxation with loved ones are truly ideals to emulate.

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After visiting so many different shops in several different countries, it has been a bit overwhelming and even with copious photographs and notes, processing this material is going to take time. Our customers have been a great help: from suggestions of shops to visit, recommendations of varieties of tea, favorite tea time rituals and delicacies, and of course lots of ideas on presentation. We are so fortunate and excited to actually have customers telling us what they want, it makes our job a lot easier. Many decisions still remain and we hope that our customers will continue to share their thoughts and memories with us to help shape and create our unique tea room. Adventures are always much more fun when you have someone to share them with! Have you “taken tea” somewhere memorable? What made it so special? The food? The company? The occasion? We welcome your comments!

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