Everyone’s favorite tea place at the UA is opening a second location in Downtown Tucson and believe me, it’s going to be a hit.
Scented Leaf Tea House and Lounge will be located between the store fronts of Diablo Burger and the former Proper restaurant at 308 E. Congress Street. Since their original location on University Boulevard has become extremely crowded and busy—especially during the afternoon class rush—this new location will be a lounge area for customers to kick back and relax whenever they want.
Shane Barela, owner of Scented Leaf, said he doesn’t have an exact date on their grand opening but his goal is to open on March 1. This new location will be slightly different than the original, with a more modern and organic feel, more tables, chairs, and fewer couches.
Scented Leaf is known for their organic teas on tap (iced or hot). Don’t want a tea that’s on tap? Have your loose tea leaves steamed. Customer’s have the option to add sweeteners, milks, honey, lemon, and can even blend your tea into a smoothTEA. Ha, get it?
Downtown’s location will feature four more teas on tap than University Boulevard’s original 12 and will have 32 loose leaf teas available instead of 65.
The taps will include Chai, Yerba Mate, Raspberry Rose, Green Tea Mango, Moroccan Mint, Papaya Passion, Hibiscus Breeze, House Black, and the seasonal favorites such as Blueberry Bliss and Prickly Pear in the summer months.
The downtown location will also have snacks and desserts including trail mix, cheesecakes, and their infamous brownies—which, for chocolate-lovers, have an unforgettable super gooey filling.
“The great thing about the new location is being so close to the Rialto so we can get a rush of people who are going to see a show or just visiting that main street,” Barela said. “It’s going to be like catering the same crowd, plus five years.”
Barela wants to make the location a music themed hangout spot by having different local bands perform while customers sip away.
He also mentioned that their refill system will be the same as the original location’s with the option of purchasing and refilling a beverage at either of the locations at any time of the day.
Veteran employees will be relocated Downtown to help get the biz moving just because they know the ins and outs of what it takes to work there.
Scented Leaf has been raising money through an Indiegogo campaign to fund their new location.
“I’m not worried about the competition because I’ll always have competition with coffee cafés and especially Starbucks but it hasn’t stopped me so far and as long as I focus on what I’m good at, there shouldn’t be a problem,” Barela said.
Barela talked about how his original plans of opening a location in Tempe fell through. He said it became a four-month process but the pricing of the area just wasn’t right. “I would just prefer Tucson anyway, I thought about Fourth Avenue but really wanted to be by the Rialto Theatre,” Barela said.
In the future, Barela wants to expand west and open more locations in California and other cities in Arizona but there will have to be a wait on that because “being an outsider in a big city in California can be really pricey,” Barela said.