New York tea business relocates to D.C., looks to open tea room

Jennifer Jackson of the Harlem-based company Not Just Tea has decided to take her chances on D.C.

Not Just Tea has been around since 2006, selling loose-leaf teas, along with gifts, tea tumblers and other accessories, through an online shop and providing teas wholesale to other businesses. The entrepreneur noticed a year or so ago that many of her online retail and wholesale clients were located in the Maryland and D.C. regions, and she decided to take the plunge.

She sold her apartment in New York City and relocated to Bethesda with dreams of opening her first brick-and-mortar tea location in the D.C. area.

Now, Jackson has a vision of a retail spot with a classic tea room vibe — a place that mothers take their daughters for tea served in vintage tea sets, with three-tiered stands for the accompanying pastries and other accouterments.

She’s not sure what she’ll call it, but she does have a theme in mind: ”Alice in Wonderland.” Between the classic tale’s ties to tea and Alice’s “fearlessness,” Jackson said, she sees it as the perfect motif for a tea room. It could even morph into a bar and hookah lounge at night in keeping with the book’s hookah-smoking caterpillar, she said.

After moving to the area just two weeks ago, Jackson, a former tea education coordinator at the Tea Institute of the USA, is just getting started on her D.C. tea room, but stay tuned for updates on the latest in D.C.’s tea offerings.

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