We met up with Brenda Board, the woman behind the Oliver & Company Tea Room that’s popping up in the former Quaker Tickets office at 1613 E. Passyunk Ave., for a peek inside and a taste of her house-blended tea.
Board, a tea expert, pastry chef and sommelier, has been doing tea-paring pop-ups for 20 years under the same name, mostly at historical properties in Chestnut Hill, where she had a tea room until 2002.
She acknowledged that the store is still a work in progress and will look unfinished tomorrow during her preview opening for Second Saturday. But here’s the deal. The tiny shop will sell loose teas, with access to more than 100 varieties, and tea accessories like cups, napkins, steeping baskets, a few home decor items and other trinkets.
She will also steep tea by the cup and serve it at a couple of tables inside.
She’s calling the shop a pop-up boutique because she’s only secured the space through June, but she hopes that the neighborhood will respond well enough to make the store permanent.
Her house blend is organically grown oolong tea from Taiwan, which was quite delicious, by the way.
Teas will mostly be served in wine glasses so you can swirl. Board described tea much like you would talk about wine, referring to its terroir and color. She will only use spring water and has a water heater that is set to the optimal temperature (Can you believe we forget to ask what temp?).
She will be open for high tea in the afternoons. Hours after tomorrow will be Monday and Tuesday 2-4 p.m., Wednesday to Friday 2-7 p.m. and weekends 5-7 p.m. Her tagline: “Revisit the afternoon.”
Though she is not licensed for food, after June she hopes to start eight-course pairings with French cuisine, booked by parties from four to about 12. Then earlier in the afternoons she also would like to host seminars like Tea 101.
Stop in tomorrow and welcome Brenda to the neighborhood.