Socratea Warms Up Midtown

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Pure Detroit – December 26, 2012

– If the words “tea house” conjure up an image of doilies, lace tablecloths and tiny crust-less sandwiches, that picture will be quickly erased by SocraTea, a tea house that recently opened in Midtown’s Sugar Hill arts district. With a décor that is more “Prohibition speakeasy” than “Grandma’s parlor,” it’s a smart addition to Detroit’s growing caffeine scene.  SocraTea is located on the lower level of 71 E. Garfield building, which is a mixed-use building that was recently rehabbed in a particularly sustainable manner, utilizing solar panels and a geothermal heating and cooling system. The tea room is spacious and aromatic with plenty of tables and free wi-fi. In short: the perfect haven for meeting a deadline while savoring a tasty hot beverage.  Whether you eschew caffeine or adore it, it’s a sure thing that one of the 50 varieties of loose teas that proprietor Meg Jones has to offer has will fill the bill. SocraTea sources from Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, and carries classic black and green, Oolong, white, herbal, fruit, aromatic, Rooibos and seasonal teas. All vaieties are certified organic and are available by the pot, cup and loose.  Brewed tea is served “for here” or “to-go” and costs $2.65 for 12 oz. and $3.55 for 20 oz. Prices vary significantly for bulk purchase depending on the tea, but Jones estimates the average is $4.95 for a 50-gram bag, which is good for brewing about 20 eight oz. cups of tea.   Baked goods, including biscotti and scones — which are also all-organic  and with plenty of gluten-free options — are baked fresh by the The Biscotti Bar in Livonia. Starting in January, there will also be cupcakes available from Pink Elephant.  The space’s character is strongly defined by the preponderance of reclaimed wood — not surprising, as it was designed by architect James Willer, founder of Reclaim Detroit. Willer is currently re-vamping the Stella International Café in the Fisher Building.  SocraTea also acts as a gallery for ceramics produced from the neighboring Sugar Hill Clay Studio and is currently displaying some reclaimed wood pieces from The End Grain Woodworking Co. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find SocraTea online atsocrateadetroit.com. [PD]

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