This post is brought to you by our intern Lauren, a senior at Robert E. Lee High School!
If anyone has a passion for tea, its Olivia Oldaker, owner of White Lotus Tea Club. When I sat down with Olivia in her gorgeous new tea tasting room, I felt as though I had been transported into a whole other world. In this space, a fusion of tranquility, beauty, and simple sophistication along with Olivia’s warm smile greet you at the door. You are welcome to the club.
White Lotus Tea Club has been in business for two years now. Olivia got her start in a coffee shop filling a need for good tea. She had overheard the owner saying that his shop needed a quality tea to provide to the customers. Seizing the opportunity, Olivia stepped up and offered her tea services. Before she knew it, Olivia had quit her job and opened a tea bar in the coffee shop. From there, she moved on to become a wholesale distributor of her high quality teas to restaurants and more coffee shops. More recently Olivia redesigned her beautiful website so that more people have access to her deliciously wonderful product. This past August, White Lotus Tea Club opened a tea tasting room in the back of the wharf building downtown. The welcoming and serene tasting room is the perfect place to experience and enjoy such a natural and exotic taste that is so foreign to our American tea palates. It is the perfect place for White Lotus Tea Club.
Now you may be wondering how Olivia came to be such an expert on tea. It started about fifteen years ago when Olivia traveled to China. There she fist experienced the art of tea, and she knew that her view of life had changed. Tea became more than simple dried flowers and leaves that she had originally known. Olivia realized that tea is an art form to which the involvement of people is essential. Through the centuries and generations the art has evolved into something more and more beautiful as a result of the masters who have played a part in it.
Today Olivia certainly adds her own passion and style to the ancient art of preparing fine teas. At first Olivia struggled to find the kind of relationship that she wanted to have with tea. She worked in tea clubs where she would make the tea for people, educate them about different varieties, and also share stories about the art. All of that became too much for Olivia, however, because she felt tea was too personal; tea played such an important part in her life as part of her morning routines and meditation. She does not measure things out or even think about it because she makes tea with her heart not her head.
Now Olivia has decided to share her love and her talents once again. She started with the tea bar in the coffee shop, moved to wholesale distribution, and registered White Lotus Tea Club about a year ago. Then came the opening of the tasting room and the open house for it which, much to Olivia’s surprise, was a hit! In the beginning, Olivia never thought that a storefront would even be possible, let alone that it would be such a success. And I am confident that White Lotus Tea Club will continue to be a success. Even the name White Lotus Tea Club invites you in. If you like tea, you are already a member of the club! For an experience in culture that will soothe your senses, educate your mind, and invigorate you taste for tea, I strongly encourage you to schedule a tea tasting with Olivia at White Lotus Tea Club.