On a hot day in August, a simple daily email stopped being a simple daily email. What would have typically escaped my attention (especially in mid August with a head-high pile of summer homework remaining on my desk) trapped my every thought. It wasn’t just an email I received from an annoyingly persistent business and certainly it was no ordinary day in August.
The subject line read “We’ll miss you, West Armitage” and at first it didn’t process in my mind. What did they mean when they said “we’ll miss you?” Certainly they were talking about some other West Armitage location. Or perhaps I had just misread the name of the sender. It took a sequential second and third reading for me to understand.
On August 26, 2017, David’s Tea closed its West Armitage location for good. The empty store front, painted its characteristic light blue, seems to sigh as I pass it twice every day.
I began to truly miss it the day of my first choir concert. It was then that I realized that the closing of David’s Tea didn’t just mark the loss of a store whose products were exceptional, if a little expensive; rather its loss marked the end of a tradition.
An iced Serenity Now, please, with two pumps of agave. The name of the drink I ordered countless time gave me just that: serenity. Whenever I was stressed over a homework assignment, or was so tired from working on a history project until three in the morning, David’s Tea offered some amount of help for a persistent migraine and shaky nerves. Before every concert and whenever I had a cold, David’s Tea offered some amount of calm.
I was a loyal Frequent Steeper from the beginning, even though a single trip to the store cost more than I, or any high school student, could afford for a simple cup of tea. Despite the several times the tea baristas gave me hot when I asked for iced and those times that both I and they were too nice for me to say anything, I remained one of their most loyal and passionate customers.
So when someone says “just go to Starbucks for tea” I know that they just don’t understand. There is no comparing them. David’s Tea could never hope to be Starbucks. But in the exact same way, Starbucks could never hope to be David’s Tea. Starbucks will never have teas of that unique quality and taste, nor will they have baristas as nice. They will never serve a tea that isn’t 89.7% ice. They will never have Serenity Now. And they will never replace David’s Tea.
Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic, as I have already been told many times. How could one possibly write an article about the closing of a tea shop? My only justification is that this store was different.
Perhaps David’s Tea was expensive, and perhaps the baristas never seemed to get my order quite right. Perhaps their tea needed a little bit of help from sugars and syrups to give it flavor.
But despite its flaws, David’s Tea will be missed… if only by me.