Saturday, December 20, 2008

Business on Broadway

So last Saturday was a great day, we were busy from the get go & had lots of sales and happy customers. Today there seems to be lots of foot traffic and cars on the street, but no one is coming in. I just don't get it. I cannot predict what days will be good & what days will be slow. I was thinking that now that the weather has turned colder, more people would be interested in sitting down to have a nice cup of tea, but it's hard to know if people are just not spending because of the bad state of the economy or that I am not reaching them in some way as a business.
So we are going to do tea tastings on Sunday in hopes of getting people in here on the weekend. Might start doing them on weeknights too! It's going to be like wine bars with a flight of tea, they get to sample all 5 of the different types of tea & get information on each type of tea. Now I just have to come up with the information to give our customers. Well I guess that will give me something to do on this slow day!
Oh we have genmaicha now too! That is the japanese green tea with toasted rice added to it, reminds me of puffed rice cereal I had as a kid. Great to wake up to!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ideal Bite & Water Bottles

So we got a mention in the in Los Angeles. Really great to be getting such nice press. Hope the new year brings even more coverage, so more people can see what we are up too!
I have had numerous people ask if we had bottled water. We hope to start selling stainless steel bottles to reuse, but we will never carry bottled water. It is such a waste of packaging & most end up in landfills. If you must have water to take with you, we will offer you water in a compostable cup. Hope to make people aware without being too preachy or weird.
Today someone asked for tea, I asked if it was for here or to go? They said here, but lets get it to go, so if we leave. I said we would prefer to give it to them in a cup we wash rather than a paper cup, if they had any left we would give them a paper cup. They ended up not getting the paper cups, so less waste! Yeah! Small milestones, trying to educate lightly & politely. It's not aways easy when people are used to the wasteful behavior & the fast, to go mentality. That is one of the things siptea is about, slowing down, enjoying & being mindful of what your decisions do to the world around you. Or maybe just don't waste a paper cup...

Sunday, December 7, 2008


When we first opened, I didn't want to hit people in the face with the fact that everything was organic & that we were a green business. After seeing that people weren't getting it, I realized I was going to have to hit people over the head. Everything is organic, but a few items, like the cheeses. I got tired of putting on the menu kale salad, made with organic kale, organic darjeeling tea, organic pear, organic olive oil, organic white wine vinegar, organic pepper, salt & humbolt fog cheese, but I think I need to do that on the next incarnation. All our cheeses are from California, with one exception. They are not certified organic cheeses, but are really reputable producers that have a great product. We do have a raw milk cheese from Spain, the manchego, it's too good & haven't found a replacement with a CA cheese. There is always that dilema. So you know I think of all the ramifications before I buy a product. To offset the fact that tea is not produced even close to here, I try to buy things made in the USA. So here is what I did to make our business green, all the glasses & plates are USA made. Sadly couldn't get silverware that was decent & made for food service, that was made here. All the teas are organic, some are even fair trade and biodynamic. All the materials that were used in the build out were as sustainable as building code allows. Denim insulation, recycled paper drywall, medite MDF, dual flush toilet, energy star appliances, industrial recycled wool felt, the list goes on. We also recycled all the existing materials that were demolished from the old business and any scrap metal, copper & pipe from the job site. I was a familiar face at the scrap yard, with my 4 year old prius, next to all the pick-ups. There are many crazy stories that go with opening a business & also with trying to really be green. So we are always striving to be as sustainable as possible & if someone has a tip, I'm all ears & if anyone knows of a truly organic local bakery that sells wholesale & is good, I'm all over it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happenings at siptea

The holiday sale was great. Thanks to all who participated and to all the people that came. Might try to do another one on the 20th. This Thursday is Artwalk and we are doing the free large hot or iced tea to anyone who mentions "artwalk." We also have new photos up on the art wall. Photos from India taken by David Kagen. This coming Saturday, Stella is playing at the Orpheum & we will stay open later to accomodate the comedy crowd. We are also having a band play that night, 'Confessions of a Corn Silo' hope you can stop by to hear them & have a spot of tea too.
Hey we were mentioned in Angeleno Interiors as being "hipper than thou" pretty cool that we are getting this rep. I am so not hip, but some of the people who work here are. I just like to work in a relaxing, nice atmosphere, if that's hip, then great. I'm a white chick from New England, no chance of being hip. I guess they think the place is hip, that would make more sense. I just know I like it.
steep on by... & decide how hip we are.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tea Nazi like the Soup Nazi

So I think it's actually cool that someone thinks I'm that particular about tea. I do have to say I won't sell anything I don't think will make a good cup of tea, so you will never see a teaball or teabags for sale at siptea. (We do have some tea bags, that you fill yourself, in the back, given to us by a tea importer. We give those away if people ask nicely!) That said I do have to say there is an art to making tea and if you like what I consider a bad cup of tea, have at it. That is your choice and the way you like it. Some people like the astringent quality that green tea gets when it is over-steeped, I think that is bad green tea, but if you like it that way, then follow your art. Someone suggested that to speed things up we use teabags that people could take with them, but again, they might leave the tea in the water too long & think we serve bad tea. At siptea the max you have to wait is 5 minutes for the tea to steep properly. For those people who freak out waiting that long we always have 3 hot & 3 cold express teas that are ready right away. We try to change them up, so people can try new stuff.
Big news is that we have hot soup, we can't cook in our space, not ventilated, but we can do slow cooker soup & have soup warmers, so check out our butternut squash soup. It's vegan & all organic, except for the salt & pepper. Two people today said it was the best butternut squash soup that they had ever had, not bad for a teahouse. Hey maybe I could be a soup nazi too!
Check out Ed Fuentes article & keep steeping...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Gift Sale on Saturday December 6th!

Come join us from 11am to 6pm. Local artists and artisans will be selling unique gifts and crafts for the holiday shopping season. Here are some of the people attending:
There will also be jewelry by Kate Holland, hand knitted baby hats & flower pins by Max Wong & bags by PERI.
We of course will be selling tea & eco friendly gifts also, but here is a chance to support the local community.
Also you can become a fan of siptea on facebook by following the link.
Lots of great stuff and it's all local!
See you on Saturday!