Before the invention of the stove, mankind had to make tea by steeping leaves above a campfire, which resulted in uneven heating and a beverage that tasted like s'mores. Taste tradition made with modern technology with today's Groupon to ZenTea in Chamblee. Choose between the following options:
• For $15, you get $30 worth of whole-leaf gourmet teas from ZenTea's online store.
• For $30, you get a one-day kids' (K–5) culture camp (a $65 value), offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday during July and August.
ZenTea's herbal experts fetch over 100 fragrant gourmet teas from throughout the globe while captivating kids in a zen-inspired environment. The convenient online boutique describes each tea type in detail, fully informing tea drinkers on brews that are black, green, white, or another color that science has failed to recognize, such as rooibos. Fancy english breakfast tea ($12 for 8 oz.) classes up mornings even more than a monocled sleeping mask; the intensive fermentation and aging of organic yunnan pu-erh tea ($18.50 for 8 oz.) ignites an explosion of hearty flavor.
Alternately, youths spend the day moving, creating, and learning about other cultures in ZenTea's children's day camps. Maté masters share lessons about tea's culture and countries of origin, and yoga practice teaches tykes about conscious movement, body-mind connectedness, and how to be flexible enough to fit into their school lunchbox. Children will also hone creative hands with the Japanese art of origami as they learn to fold ordinary paper into eye-catching cranes and flowers. At day's end, kids will come home learned and peaceful, much like a dove wearing a mortarboard.
Online option not valid for accessories.
At ZenTea, the staff is eager to share their knowledge, presenting their menu much like a serious café or craft-cocktail bar would. To that end, owner Connie Miller has collected more than 140 teas from around the world, and more than just water goes into brewing each pot. Her time spent studying tea in Sri Lanka allows her to steep each glass with knowledge, whether it's about the tea's creation process or the ways that climate and altitude can impact its flavor. Though guests can grab a hot tea by the cup or in pots for one, two, or three, the tea tastings are where the shop shines.
They start with mini tea flights, which feature three 9-ounce pots filled with your choice of tea, and weekly tastings cover a new variety each session, in which guest sip five or six teas complemented by a dessert. Servers also up the theatrics with their iced matcha lattes, which are blended from green-tea powder, organic milk, and agave sweetener. Servers then vigorously chill the concoctions in martini shakers with the expertise of Coyote Ugly stunt women. And the café counter serves light fare such as quiche, salads, soup, and baked goods to pair with brews.
Considering that ZenTea’s century-old building once housed Chamblee’s town hall, it’s not surprising that the shop has become something of a community hangout—patrons explore the distinctive nuances of each varietal in tasting classes and afternoon high teas.