I've never really considered myself a tea drinker, but I visited The Scented Leaf, a teahouse/lounge located in the Main Gate Square last Saturday morning, and I may have developed an appreciation for the stuff.
The Scented Leaf used to be located down the street on University Boulevard, and was a perfume shop before owners Shane Barerla and his wife Adrienne Barela discovered the wonders of loose-leaf tea while on a trip to Spain. Inspired from what they learned and tasted abroad, they wanted to share their positive experience with Tucson.
And suffice it to say that I had a positive experience when I visited The Scented Leaf. When my friends and I sleepily shuffled into the tea house, we explained to Shane that we were coffee drinkers in dire need of our daily caffeine fix. He recommend maté, which naturally contains caffeine, to help us get our day going. And while nothing compares to a hot cup of black coffee, I was pleasantly surprised that a tea could give me such a jolt of energy. I also sampled their fig formosa oolong tea and an orange vanilla cream black tea that tasted vaguely like a dreamsicle. Both were delicious and refreshing.
And while the Barelas specialize in tea, the food they had available was pretty tasty. I ordered a blueberry streusel that was warm, flaky and fresh—all the necessary components of a perfect pastry. My aversion to vegetables was challenged when I sampled my friend's cream of vegetable soup and was awed by its rich flavor. All in all, The Scented Leaf seems like the ideal hangout spot for me and my friends and is somewhere I plan to frequently visit when fall classes start.