Over the weekend, Dobra Tea opened its doors and welcomed their first customers to a new type of tea shop. Occupying what used to be Mad Hatters Deli, Dobra Tea has blown through their adjoining wall and created a space that is equal parts retail and relaxation. We were able to speak with Owner Stacy Jolles and learn what the new space will offer and a bit about tea in general.
Vermont.com // Besides perhaps making a glass for my grandmother or my girlfriend if she’s sick, I know next to nothing about tea. What exactly is the difference between a bag of tea from the grocery and what we can get here?
Dobra Tea // The biggest difference – our tea is really fresh. Most of what you would be buying in a grocery store is the leftovers of the processing – called the fannings. Our quality is much higher, we have the whole leaf, very carefully processed, not crumbled or smashed and always handpicked. Tea is just like wine – the terroir affects the way the tea tastes, in combination with how it is processed. There are numerous different tea categories; white, yellow, green, black, oolong – all of these are one plant (just like wine is from the grape), just all different varietals, and the way they are grown and processed. We have over 100 types of teas here – all different and unique.
VTC // What about the way that some bottles of wine have huge price tags? Does that happen with teas as well?
DT // You could go out and get teas that are one-hundred, two-hundred dollars, just like a bottle of wine. But, Dobra is a Czech/Russian word that means good and our mission is to provide as high quality tea as we possibly can, but make it affordable and accessible.
VTC // Tell me about the new space, what are you most excited about?
DT // Before, we had a tea room, bulk loose leaf tea shop, retail tea ware, tea to go, food, music, tea classes, all of this in a tiny little space. Now we can take all of that out of the tea room and leave the peace and quiet and bring our retail over here. The other big gain for us is we get a classroom space. This community really enjoys education and tea is a very complex subject.
VTC // What type of classes will you offer?
DT // Over the weekend we’ll be having our first yoga sessions and we will also will continue our tea classes. Recently we went to Hawaii and visited six or seven tea farms. We brought back quite a bit of tea and had a class tasting all the different types, showing a slide show from the travels, and talking about tea processing.
VTC // I see that you’ve expanded your tea ware selection as well – can you tell us a little about the new offerings?
DT // One of the biggest things for us is that we carry tea from all of the tea drinking lands; China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, India, etc. and we serve it in the vessel that is appropriate for that country. So when we have a Chinese tea ceremony or a Japanese Tea Ceremony, we have the proper tea ware, served in the process and style that is accustomed. We now offer all of these different types of vessels in our retail area. We also have a lot of local artisan tea ware, from wonderful artists like Laura Baum all on display and for sale.
VTC // And to think, all this time my Grandmother and girlfriend were just being served in a coffee mug. Thank you so much for taking the time – I’m looking forward to coming in for classes and more tea tastings.
Dobra Tea’s new retail space and classroom is located on the corner of Church and Bank Street and is open for business Sunday – Wednesday from 10AM-10PM and Thursday – Saturday from 10AM-11PM. Stop in, relax, and enjoy - these guys know their tea.
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