| December 2012
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By Olivia Boler
Store Trek is a regular Voice feature profiling new businesses in Noe Valley. This month, we introduce a tea emporium that offers a veritable rainbow of flavors and blends.
Store manager Stephanie Ivanick has more than 150 blends to sample at the new DavidsTea on 24th Street. Photo by Pamela Gerard
3870 24th St. between Sanchez and Vicksburg
Sipping tea just got more hip with the opening of a new retailer in the old Ladybug Ladybug space hailing all the way from Canada. According to international bud watchers, DavidsTea has taken our northern neighbors by storm since the first Toronto shop opened in 2008. Today, there are 87 shops in Canada and the United States, with plans to hit 100 in early 2013.
The Noe Valley outlet, on 24th Street at Sanchez, made its debut at the neighborhood’s Harvest Festival in late October. Veteran DavidsTea support manager Ashley Jestin is training store manager Stephanie Ivanick and her staff in all things tea. Jestin is in town for two months from her usual post in Vancouver, BC, and her enthusiasm for DavidsTea is infectious.
“Sometimes customers come into my shop and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I don’t drink tea.’ I tell them, ‘After talking to me, you’re going to love drinking tea!’” she says with a laugh.
David Segal is the young Canadian entrepreneur who saw a need for teashops that weren’t boring, stuffy, or old school. He made it his mission, with the help of his cousin Herschel Segal (who 50 years ago founded the clothing line Le Chateau), to make drinking tea youthful, fresh, and modern.
There are over 150 DavidsTea blends, which are color-coded by type in their metal canisters behind the counter—black teas, green teas, blue for oolongs, yellow for herbals, red for rooibos, and so on. Several teas are mixed with nuts, dried fruits, and even bits of candy or chocolate. None of the teas contains more than two grams of sugar per one-cup serving, for those who count their tea calories. Some people bake or cook with the teas, and there is a box of recipes for sale ($9.50). One customer says after steeping her favorite herbal tea, Forever Nuts (almonds, apple bits, cinnamon, and beetroot), she puts it on her oatmeal.
“As in fashion, we launch a new limited collection of teas every season,” Jestin says. The winter teas are Alpine Punch, Banana Dream Pie, Chocolate Chili Chai, Cocomint Cream, and Cookie Dough, a white tea enhanced with aromatic nuts, caramel, and chocolate chips. “It’s like dessert in a cup.” All five teas are sold separately or in a special collection for $25.50.
In addition to loose-leaf teas, the shop sells several holiday gifts, such as Christmas crackers ($14.50), tea ornaments ($12.50), and mugs with removable tea strainers and coasters that double as lids ($19.50). A tin of tea, which contains a little less than 4 ounces, retails anywhere from $9.50 to $14.50.
The staff will happily brew a cup of tea to go ($3)—there’s a small seating area at the front of the store—and if you bring in your own tea tin or container (no need for it to be DavidsTea), you’ll get 50 cents off your loose-leaf purchase.
DavidsTea is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.