Business

Just your cup of tea

Lucy Tuggle (left) and Kelli Simon, inside their new store, Aroma Tea and Herb on Randall Way, have always enjoyed drinking tea. Aroma Tea and Herb features a wide selection of herbal books as well as fruit-flavored tea.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Lucy Tuggle (left) and Kelli Simon, inside their new store, Aroma Tea and Herb on Randall Way, have always enjoyed drinking tea. Aroma Tea and Herb features a wide selection of herbal books as well as fruit-flavored tea.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The new Aroma Tea and Herb is a tea-drinker’s haven with the woody, sweet aroma of 72 herbs and many specialty teas.

The owners of Aroma Tea and Herb, Kelli Simon of Seabeck and Lucy Tuggle of Poulsbo, are first-time business owners.

“It’s been a learning process,” Tuggle said. “In a matter of weeks we went from the tea drinking end to the tea selling end. We’ve come a long way.”

Simon is a dog groomer by trade, and focuses more on the bookkeeping end of the store. Tuggle, a stay-at-home mom of 16 years, is more involved with the customers. Simon and Tuggle decided to start the tea shop because they both enjoy drinking tea and they found out that Magnolia Spice and Tea was closing.

Because they were replacing the previous tea shop, Simon and Tuggle said they felt it was important to create their own style with new signs, different products and more herbs. Elaine Gilman, Simon’s mother, helped with wall decorations and pictures, while both Simon and Tuggle’s children helped with the color scheme and setting up the shop.

The shop has an airy feel, and the walls are lined with shelves which seat large glass jars full of loose tea and herbs. The shelves at the front shop window hold novelty tea pots including a seashell pot, a Tetsubin cast iron tea pot and a frog tea pot, lovingly titled “Toby.”

“He’s our absolute favorite,” Tuggle said.

The shop carries a wide variety of teas including herbal, black, green, white, Asian, Indian, decaffeinated, rooibos and one artisan tea. Called “Three Flower Burst Tea,” this artisan tea is shaped like a ball and comes hand-sewn at $5 a ball. This price is half of what most vendors charge, according to Tuggle and Simon.

The shop carries a tea called “Supercharge Black Tea,” Simon said.

“Drinks like a cup of tea, kicks like a cup of coffee.”

The shop also carries many herbs, which customers can combine to make their own tea blend, and aroma-therapists sometimes buy them for their healing properties. Simon and Tuggle added that they are unqualified to offer medical advice, but they collect business cards of medical professionals for customer referrals.

Besides tea and herbs, Aroma Tea and Herb carries tea infusers, pots, Jaffa cakes, raw honey from a local beekeeper, and collectible teacups and plates.

There’s a special corner in the shop for teacups and plates, some hand-painted.

“There’s actually a story behind that,” Tuggle said, smiling.

She explained that her grandmother had been a big collector of teacups and plates, and her mother didn’t know what to do with all of the items. Now Tuggle’s mother comes in every month with a new set of teacups and plates.

Simon and Tuggle were surprised to find that many of their customers were men.

“At least a third of our customers are men,” Tuggle said.

Both women had a hard time choosing their favorite tea. For Tuggle, “It’s a toss up between green rooibos and cherry rose roobios.”

“I really like the herb and fruit teas. They just have such a natural sweet flavor. I’m more of a dessert tea-type person,” Simon said.

Tuggle said her favorite aspect of owning a tea shop is drinking the tea. “Sometimes I have to tell her to slow down,” Simon said, laughing.

To better serve their customers, Tuggle said they’re working on trying everything in the store.

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