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Just her cup of tea

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WSB radio news anchor Lisa Campbell moonlights as the president and "teaEO" of Urban Tea Party, a Poncey-Highland teahouse, gallery, gathering space and retail store open since March.

How'd you get into tea?

My daughter and I were on vacation in London two years ago and we got into drinking tea; I loved the experience. When we came back, it was what I missed most. I got certified from the Tea Institute of America and attending the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 vendors. I really jumped in with both feet.

Who grows the world's best tea?

China, Sri Lanka, India and Japan. I was worried that the tsunami would affect the production, but it's grown at such high elevations that it didn't. South Africa grows Rooibos -- red tea that resembles tobacco. It has no caffeine and 30 times the antioxidants of green tea.

Why is some tea green, some black, some white?

It's all based on oxidization. Green tea is processed for less time, so it retains the natural color. Black tea is processed longer. White tea is the most delicate. It should only be brewed for two-and-a-half or three minutes per cup.

What country consumes the most tea?

All of Europe. London is number one, followed by Paris.

Are Americans getting a decent cup of tea?

Since the Boston Tea Party, we've been drinking Lipton and thinking it's tea. It's actually tea dust, the leftovers. We only sell loose-leaf tea -- 48 varieties -- and we only keep it for six months. We also teach people proper brewing techniques.

Who's drinking tea these days?

It's about 50/50 men and women. But my favorite customer is Gabriel, an 8-year-old boy who lives in the neighborhood. He comes with his mother, Paula. He likes the frozen teas, which have pureed fresh fruit and a 15 [percent] to 20 percent green tea base.

So kids can safely drink tea?

Absolutely! Rooibos has been proven to calm colicky babies.

chefstable@creativeloafing.com

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