19 June 2012


Written by Published in Lifestyle

Take the 'Cheers' bar, transport it to L.A., fuse it with tea and some tea making experts and you'll find yourself inside the Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium in West Hollywood, California. Known to his customers as Dr. Tea, Mark Ukras is the co-owner of this popular establishment. Of Middle Eastern origin, he comes from a long line of tea merchants that have been trading in the leaves for almost 400 years

What makes Dr. Tea's shop different from your everyday chain stores like Starbucks, other than the exciting selection of teas, is the expertise Dr.Tea and his professionally trained herbalists provide. The garden and peaceful setting offer a tranquil sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles traffic jams and at times glaring Hollywood lights.

Aside from being a retreat from the stresses of city life for Angelinos, Dr.Tea's Emporium is a place where people can discover the beneficial and medicinal healing properties of the varying types of teas, including the three main groups of teas - green tea, black tea and oolong tea.

What excites Ukra about Tea is its endless capabilities, he says, "It youthens us, brings us energy, enriches our body. Tea makes me whole."

The origin of tea spills from the cup of the legendary story of 2737 B.C Chinese Emperor, Shan Nong's accidental discovery of the drink, after a few tea leaves fell into his boiling water releasing a fragrant scent and invigorating taste. 

Derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, as well as from the fusion of fruit and herbs, tea contains so many natural healing properties that Dr. Tea is able to consult and amend to each customer's needs. If pressed he says one of the healthiest teas is white tea, "as it is low in caffeine and high in anti-oxidants." As well as the health benefits of tea, such as the eden tea which helps pregnant woman with nausea, or licorice oolong which helps with sore throats, the emporium offers fine wine-like teas such as Puerh, a more refined beverage with a particularly soothing taste to the palate.8328 146052119920 58196079920 2404648 5880303 n 1

For those of us not lucky enough to be able to sample the delights first hand, there is an online shop where a selection of teas are available to buy including some very interesting tea rubs, which can be used in cooking!

Part of Dr.Tea's undertaking with the tea garden is to encourage Americans to incorporate tea into their daily lives when their natural propensity is to reach for the coffee cup. He hopes they will not only understand the great remedies stored within each teabag but to also participate in the century long tradition, uniting people around the world with a pinkies' up, one teacup at a time mantra.

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