It’s no secret that all types of artists have found a cushy home within the South Wedge. From tattoos and Wall/Therapy, to cultivating an outstanding cocktail, music and beyond - something about this area has its own gravitational pull harboring art the very core.
Niraj Lama of Happy Earth Teas is the newest artist to make their way into our neighborhood; bringing with him ancient traditions that warm the body and soothe the soul. Leaf Tea bar is nestled in at 650 South Avenue and offers a place to relax and enjoy a variety of organic teas shipped at peak freshness from India, Napal, Taiwan, China, and Japan.
“What I wanted to do was establish a place where people could come and enjoy tea made in a very authentic style. We do tea steeping not only in the conventional style but we also steep them in traditional Chinese and Japanese styles and make Indian Chai’s from scratch. Everything is as authentic as it can be from the sourcing and the serving of the tea. I wanted a place where tea enthusiasts can learn and enjoy,” says Niraj of his business.
Niraj was a journalist in his birth city of Darjeeling, India with a tea business that exported premium Darjeeling teas. He moved to Rochester in 2010 with his wife, a native Rochestarian, and two children. Soon after arriving here, he reestablished Happy Earth Tea to include a variety of teas including Darjeeling tea from his home as well as various herbal blends. From his office in the Hungerford building he was able to keep up with online sales, classes, and to distribute his teas to local businesses and restaurants. Wanting to share his passion with more than he was able in his current location, he took the plunge using recommendations from friends in local businesses in and around the South Wedge and had his grand opening of Leaf Tea Bar on October 15th.
Leaf Tea Bar by Happy Earth Tea is unique in that they bring their teas to American within a couple of weeks of harvest to assure they have the freshest and most authentic teas available to consumers. People can also purchase loose tea to enjoy at home. Niraj’s company supports foundations and donates percentages of his tea sales to organizations that assist underprivileged children in Nepal as well as One Percent for the Planet (www.onepercentfortheplanet.org.)
Whether you are interested in taking a class that he offers, are an enthusiast of fine traditional teas or just need a few minutes to escape, Niraj believes the tea experience is unique to everyone. “These traditions inspire folks not to just enjoy a cup of tea but there is a lot of art, there’s a lot of philosophy a lot of culture and richness, besides the flavor. There’s a whole world in that cup of tea and that’s what we want to be able to interpret and communicate.”
Leaf Tea Bar by Happy Earth Tea
650 South Avenue | 585.245.0242
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10AM–6PM