A Locally Owned Tea House Provides High Quality Tea


Kerry Fingerle

Lisa McDonald, the owner of the Tea Haus.

Tea houses are often seen as coffee shops, where one can buy an assortment of pastries, coffees, and often a few types of tea. On the contrary, tea houses are shops with a lighter menu. Particularly popular in Germany and the United Kingdom, they serve light meals with a wide variety of high quality teas, along with regular coffee drinks. Like coffee shops, they have become a place where students go to study and where friends go to pass the time. Tea often has a higher quality at tea houses, and the atmosphere is more relaxed, providing a less main-stream hangout than your local Starbucks.

“I missed the good quality tea from tea houses,” said Lisa McDonald, the owner of Ann Arbor’s Tea Haus on 204 N. 4th Ave (haus means house in German). McDonald opened up the Tea Haus in December of 2007 with her husband, Mark Hewko, after she returned from a “small backpacking trip” in Europe, which turned into a 14-year residence in Germany and Sweden.

The Tea Haus, which has been called “elegantly cozy” by the Detroit Free Press, carries around 200 varieties of loose teas, most of which is organic. “I think it’s really important to have the whole sensory experience before choosing.” McDonald said. On average, she spends about seven to fifteen minutes per customer. “The quality of the tea is important to me.” McDonald said. “Buying tea from a store in the mall is like buying vegetables from the Gap.”

In addition to high quality tea, the Tea Haus carries a unique collection of tea ware and tea preparation tools.

Trying to replicate the European feel, McDonald was lucky enough to open the Tea Haus in Kerry Town, Ann Arbor’s historic market district. “Location wasn’t much of a problem.” McDonald said.  “I couldn’t think of a better place than Kerry Town. People are equally concerned about food and drink quality as I am. The area is all very European.”

The Tea Haus has its own share of events. Every other Tuesday, the Tea Haus hosts Loose Leaf Poetry Readings from Ann Arbor Word Works. Free tea is served, along with cupcakes from Cake Nouveau. They also have tea tastings and private events.

To learn more about the Tea Haus, visit their website by clicking here, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.