It's tea time

Local shop owners overcome challenges, celebrate one year


Correction appended.

Local Taos tea shop tea.o.graphy is looking at giving back this weekend for mothers and community members in celebration of the store's one-year anniversary.

Founder Dana Blair is inviting the public to the shop to celebrate both Mother's Day as well her partner Steve Chavez' journey to be healthy.

The anniversary event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday (May 12), 129 Kit Carson Road and will showcase the various products available at the business. In addition, a percentage of the profits for the day will be donated to Taos Cancer Support Services as a way for Chavez to give back to the community for helping him over the past few years.

"As a community business, we'd like to promote tea.o.graphy as a company that supports others in the community," Chavez said.

Chavez was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in April 2016, but recently has been doing well in his prognosis. Through tea, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, Chavez has overcome some of the challenges doctors said might inhibit him during his recovery. Shortly after surgery, he was already back at work and helping in the shop. He said he is committed to living the best life no matter what he faces in the future.

"I've done great with everybody's help," Chavez said.

Saturday's event will be an opportunity for community members to explore tea.o.grahphy and the many different types of teas and accessories the business carries. According to Blair, the small staff of four workers, as well as herself and Chavez, manage to hand-blend each recipe and even package for international sales. With 40 tea blends in the lineup, Blair has a cup for every occasion and every taste. She can even help customers who might be unsure what to order.

The small homegrown business started around three years ago after Blair decided to kick her coffee habit for good and switched to a healthier drinking alternative. Blair put down the beans and began researching the leaves. The journey from coffee to tea was, she said, "interesting."

"I couldn't find anything exciting to replace my coffee habit," Blair said. "So I said, 'If I can't find it, I'll make it myself.'"

Blair, a former educator, moved to China for a time and learned about a variety of teas. She brought her knowledge back to the states and continued to research tasty tea leaves.

She started the tea business with Chavez and began selling at the Farmer's Market before the opening of the shop off a side street on Kit Carson. Fresh blends from simple flavors to the more complex line the shelves of tea.o.graphy, waiting for customers to pick one out.

While the operation is relatively small, Chavez and Blair said they have been picking up in recent months from the businesses who buy their tea. Tea.o.graphy teas can be found in more than 50 locations around Taos, and Blair said that list is growing. Restaurants and hotels carrying the tea have had international customers who have ordered the tea from across the pond after their visit here. Despite the uptick in orders, tea.o.graphy will remain a community business in Taos for the time being, the couple said.

Correction: A prior version of this story misnamed Steve Chavez.