Socra Tea is an apt name for a tea room located in Detroit's Cultural Center, steps away from museums, a university and medical center. It hosts students, artists and tea enthusiasts seeking a comfortable place to drink premium tea and pursue a variety of interests.
Meg Provenzino, who is part owner with her husband and parents, opened Socra Tea in December, 2012 on Noel Night, a city tradition where museums and retail shops host an area-wide "open house" filled with special events. When asked why she wanted to open a tea room in Detroit, Provenzino says, "every great city needs a tea house" and Detroit didn't have one.
The tea room is large, filled with a number of different sized wood tables, suitable for a single student or a large group of knitters. Display counters showcase local artists' works, including pottery, candles and painting. The shelves that hold the tea canisters are made from reclaimed wood in the Detroit area and fit perfectly into this basement locale of the restored 71 Garfield Building.
Currently the tea room offers 70 different teas. Their tea distributer is Ann Arbor's Tea Haus, which partners with the German tea company, TeaGschwendner. The premium blends are literally "top shelf" on the reclaimed wood case, housed in gold tins. The rest of the teas include a wide variety of black, green, oolong, and herbals. Guests are encouraged to view the loose tea and take in their aroma as part of the selection process.
Provenzino, who could easily pass for any of the visiting undergraduate students seated with their laptops at the tea room tables, manages Socra Tea and, occasionally, with other family members in tow: her two young sons, toddler Max and 2-month old Phineas. She grew up in a tea drinking environment, started when her father quit drinking coffee over 20 years ago. Tea became the favored drink in the household.
A meeting with Tea Haus owner, Lisa McDonald, a few years before Socra Tea opened, provided Provenzino with support and mentoring. McDonald will be hosting some tea pairing events at Socra Tea this fall.
New to Socra Tea this summer are tea smoothies, mixtures of fruit, tea and almond milk. Next month, the tea room plans to introduce lattes, including Indian Chai and London Fog. The tea room also features baked goods such as scones, cookies and brownies, some of which are gluten-free.
Whether soaking in some local culture, studying for an exam or as part of a "pop-up" yoga or knitting group, you are sure to find comfort and delicious tea at Socra Tea.
Socra Tea is open seven days a week. For more information visit their website, socrateadetroit.com or call them at 313-833-7100.