If the idea of sitting down in a cozy café, sipping on a warm cup of flavorful tea while gently turning the pages of a new book sounds like your ideal day, rejoice! A new tea place and apothecary, Tipple & Rose Tea Parlor, has recently opened up at 210 Nassau Street after relocating from Atlanta, Georgia. They currently sell candles, tea, blankets, and body care products, and they will soon be serving tea, bakery, and bistro items.
Doria Roberts and her wife, Chef Calavino Donati, opened the shop in Atlanta in 2015. It was an immediate success, and was ranked third in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure. Over the years, Tipple & Rose has even hosted special themed tea services for the official promotion of new films including “Downton Abbey” and “Mary Poppins Returns.”
The tea shop also became a place where families returned year after year, cementing memories there.
“There are people that came every year with their grandmother. ... There were kids that were in their mom’s bellies when we opened and were almost four and five by the time we left — who’d grown up in and around the shop,” said Roberts.
Unfortunately, Roberts’s mother had a sudden stroke in 2019, so they decided to relocate back home, leaving their Atlanta community behind. Now, Roberts and Donati hope for the Princeton shop location to have the same close-knit connection with the community.
This community connection extends to other local businesses, too. Knowing the struggles of being a small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tipple & Rose supports upwards of 50–60 other small businesses through the retail portion of the shop.
“We want to be a place where people can know that when they’re buying something, they’re supporting ballet lessons, or they’re supporting braces; they’re supporting families and entrepreneurs who have a dream,” Roberts explained.
Roberts and Donati have their own dream as well, despite the hardships they have faced in the last few years.
“I just want to be here. I can't ask for much more than that, or hope for more than that. It's very, very cautiously optimistic after the year and a half that we've had as small business owners, and just as people, and dealing with my mom’s illness and COVID,” said Roberts.
Part of this dream is creating a tea parlor atmosphere, which Roberts described as very different from the frenetic and hurried atmosphere of a coffee shop. Instead, Roberts wants to cultivate a cozy, homey place.
“[The shop is] based around tea culture and being cozy. And tea drinkers, we tend to be a little more introverted, and we want our cozy blanket, then our fuzzy socks. And we want our favorite mug. We want our tea. We want our book, and we want to be left alone,” Roberts said.
To that end, Tipple & Rose has a wide selection of candles, teapots, brewing apparatuses, and body care products. Near the back of the shop, Tipple & Rose has a tea sniffing bar to help customers get a sense of what tea they would enjoy. The selection includes black teas, green teas, fruity and floral teas, toasty and smoky teas, and wellness teas.
They even sell tea that Roberts said has converted staunch coffee drinkers to tea lovers. The fermented and aged variety of tea called Pu-erh, according to Roberts, has a similar body and flavor to coffee. Meanwhile, for those seeking a kick of caffeine, Roberts recommends Mate, which has a higher concentration of caffeine than the typical cup of tea.
Roberts hopes these teas can be the centerpoint of a literary-focused and relaxed tea parlor.
“I want to reserve the space for people who want to come and have a pot of tea and have a long conversation with an old friend, or a writer who wants to sit and write their novel,” said Roberts.
“I really would love [Tipple & Rose] to be a place where people who love to read and love to have conversations about important subjects [can gather], kind of like a salon type space where we’re hosting authors and we’re hosting artists who are coming to the University,” added Roberts.
In the future, Roberts also plans on collaborating with Labyrinth Books, planning tea events, and inviting authors for book discussions. In the past, Tipple & Rose has hosted book clubs, which they hope to continue.
“I really want [the tea parlor] to be your ‘third place’, outside of work and home, the place that you can come to that feels like an extension of your home.”
Maria Khartchenko is a contributing writer for The Prospect at the ‘Prince.' She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Instagram at @masha.khart.