There is a delicious and particular scent in a house in García Cortinas, in Punta Carretas. A quiet and cozy place where visitors can sit down and relax while having a cup of tea. Mónica Rodríguez, tea sommelier and owner of La Tienda del Té, receives warmly and advises the curious visitors who show up on the store to get to know more about the millenary infusion.
— How did you came out with the idea of opening the store?
— The idea came out mainly because of my increasing interest on leaf tea and blends. I always had a lot of smell, that led me to tea. And I also found the need to open a place like this, because there was no similar place in Uruguay. Between the idea and the opening, there was only two months of difference, everything happened incredibly fast. I wanted to do something I like, something fulfilling, and that is how it started. It is not easy, but we are about to celebrate our eight birthday this year.
— What was it that captivated you about tea?
— Mainly the moment of intimacy around tea, heating the water, choosing your tea, and concentrating all of your senses on that moment, the smell, the taste, the sight. While preparing leaf tea you are in a process, paying attention only to that. You can clear up your mind. Tea gives us the possibility of getting inside ourselves and enjoy being quiet for a while, that is what I like the most. I love discovering new teas, buy them, learn a little bit every day.
— Which is the essence of La Tienda del Té?
— Tea as the protagonist. It has to do with the way of living that comes along with tea, from it origins. There is something ceremonious about drinking tea, it could be intimate or in group, and it is because of how it is prepared, and what you can learn about tea. The store is a way of growing up with our public. We want this place to be cozy and quiet for those visiting us, is our priority, even though this could mean that sometimes it takes a while for people to discover us. We do not want to lose contact with our clients.
— Why do you think tourists should visit this place?
— It is known that people who like tea, are seekers. Tourists who like tea look for it, mainly because is an experience you cannot find everywhere. Also, when people are on vacation, is the ideal time to have tea, enjoy it and get to know it. We do not disappoint them, they always leave happy and then they come back. There are tourist who have discover the place, and a year later, they come back.
— What is your recommendation for someone who wants to start learning about tea?
— I always say, people who approach tea do not fit within a social stratum or a personality type, it is a matter of sensitivity, if you are a little sensitive and you are looking for healthy stuff for your soul and your body, tea is a good option. People who arrive at the store already have some curiosity, and generally tea won’t let them down. To learn about tea, there is no other way than drinking tea. If you come to the store, tell us about your tastes, we advise you and will offer you the tea that suits you. Is a road without return, because people always come bach looking for more the or for a gift. Tea will captivate you right away.