Husband-and-wife team Niraj Lama and Mary Boland know tea. Before moving to the U.S., the couple owned and operated Darjeeling Tea Exclusive, based in Lama’s home of Darjeeling, India.
After they moved to Rochester, Lama and Boland created Happy Earth Tea in 2011 to focus on a newer market and a more global selection of teas.
As part of their new company, the couple opened Leaf Tea Bar on South Avenue in 2016. The couple’s goal in opening the bar was simple: to create a clean and serene spot to shop for and enjoy a cup of tea.
The bar, which offers a wide variety of teas along with vegan cookies from Red Fern, was featured by CNN on a list of the world’s 11 best tea houses in February 2017. The bar includes cultural elements from around the world that reflect the sources of the teas.
Much of the tea is sourced directly from farms that Lama has visited personally, and he takes the sustainability and conservation of the earth’s resources seriously when deciding where to purchase teas.
Happy Earth Tea is a member of 1% for the Planet and donates 1% of its annual sales to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, a nonprofit that works to preserve the natural heritage of the Finger Lakes region.