Tea Time

Something Unique With Anime Teahouse in Yreka…

“I’ve always thought Yreka could use something a little different,” explains Andrea Weary, the owner and visionary behind the Anime Teahouse, a relatively new boutique in the city’s historic downtown that sells custom tea blends and unique gifts imported mostly from Japan. Tucked in a charming little shop full of color and character, Weary was inspired to open based on her love of tea and Japanese anime. “Anime is a general term for a cartoon. When I was young, around 12 or 13, my brother and I would rush home from school to watch it. We couldn’t get enough of it. And ever since then, I’ve been in love with Asian culture. I have a degree in Chinese language in Asian studies from Berkeley and studied Japanese for two years. I lived in China and Taiwan for a couple of years, and then seven years ago I finally moved to Yreka.”

While tea is a staple of the Asian cultures Weary adores, she has created her own spin on the blends she creates by affixing labels with hand-drawn animated characters that represent the individual personality of the teas. For instance, Weary’s first character was “Lady Green Tea.” She explains, “I love green tea, so as I was drinking it I thought, ‘What type of character would go with this tea?’ I started searching on the internet for different ideas on different anime characters or different manga ( Japanese comics) characters that had green hair and captured what I was experiencing.” From there, Weary has developed a wide range of tea offerings and the characters that go along with them. “When I taste each sample, I sit down and think something like, ‘What do I want the character for Lady Chai to look like?’ So I’ll research where chai comes from. India. Then, I’ll look at pictures of women in India, how they dress and everything like that. Then, there’s Lady Black tea. Black tea is very popular in England, so I wanted her to be Victorian.”

Photos Courtesy of Anime Teahouse

Oolong Papaya blend is represented by a character Weary calls “Lady Fae” – as in a lady fairy. “The papaya pieces are a kind of yellow color and so in the artwork, you can see her hair is yellow, her clothes are yellow. I thought the tea, the taste, the wonderful smell, it just reminded me of a fairy, and when you drink it, it makes you feel happy and light.”

Weary is something of a character herself, a bubbly blend of enthusiasm and dedication. In addition to weekends running her tea shop, she still works full-time as a teacher for the vision impaired. Even though she sometimes gets tired, she’s living out her long-time dream. “I remember telling my husband, ‘I want to do something else besides just teach.’ And we were thinking of business ideas and I said, ‘You know, I love anime. I love tea.’ And he says, ‘How about an anime tea house?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’”

Weary admits she was nervous at first. “Yreka is a small town and I didn’t know how people would receive it. And when I first started, some people looked at me like I was crazy. But I pushed some of my friends to try the tea and they’d be like, ‘Oh Andrea, we’re not really tea drinkers.’ But I’d say, ‘You’ve got to try this.’ And they loved it. So, I kept testing it out on them and converted a lot of them. Then, I started doing trade shows and it grew from there.”

Photos Courtesy of Anime Teahouse

Since opening her doors, Weary’s shop has expanded to include tea sets, accessories, unique Japanese gifts and a wide range of stickers, novelties and books, including

beginning language books for those interested in learning Japanese. The unique nature of the shop draws people from as far as Medford and Mount Shasta, who are surprised to learn that a shop like hers exists anywhere in the region. But some of Weary’s favorite clients continue to be the students and teenagers who love anime and drop in frequently. “I can totally relate to them. We talk about the latest anime going on and all the latest manga and they’re like, ‘Oh Andrea, have you read this one?’ And they’ll open up their phone and show me. And they’ll say, ‘Look at her hair, look at her eyes.’ And I spent so many hours doing the same thing as a teen that I know what they mean. And that makes me want to just keep going.”

One day, maybe they’ll get their chance to make their dreams happen, too. •

Anime Teahouse • www.animeteahouse.net 212 Butte St., Yreka • (5310) 638-2884

About Megan Peterson

Megan Peterson is a freelance storyteller who loves her family, her pets, and Northern California. Her favorite part of writing is finding flow, and she always relishes a touching human story. Aside from Enjoy, she’s typically busy writing and producing for television, having created more than 220 hours of on-air content on networks ranging from National Geographic to Netflix.

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