Drinking tea may promote relaxation, but Andrew Snavely says customers at the newest location of Dobrá Tea should feel these effects even before they take a sip.
Snavely and his partner, Lindsay Thomas, last weekend opened a branch of the tea cooperative in Black Mountain.
“We love the peace and quiet of the mountains and all the nature that surrounds us,” he says. “I feel like if people escape Asheville and come out here, it will be like, ‘I get more work done when I come to the Black Mountain tea house.’”
The cooperatively owned chain includes six teahouses around the country. Snavely opened Dobrá on Lexington Avenue in 2010.
“Black Mountain has always been a home to me,” Thomas says. “I’m super excited to offer tea and gathering space to the community.”
The new shop sits on the edge of Black Mountain, so it’s walking distance to the other shops. Still, the teahouse is set back from Broadway Street, separated from the road by a flat, grassy lawn and an elevated stone patio.
“We wanted them to be similar but also different enough where coming out here felt like an experience,” Snavely says. “We’re really going for that destination kind of thing, but still, so many locals are behind us, really supporting us.”
The tea selections are the same at both area tea shops, but the new Dobrá offers an exclusive line of gluten-free baked goods from Ben Harvey, formerly of May Apple Bakery. Tea features as an ingredient in many of them, such as the black sesame and d’anjou pear cakes, masala, chocolate-chip cookies and matcha biscuits.
Whereas the Asheville Dobrá has a Moroccan feel, the Black Mountain Dobrá references Asian design. “Lindsay and I just traveled to Japan in May for a couple of weeks, so this tea room was really inspired by our trip,” Snavely says.
Snavely and Thomas have placed floor pillows on raised platforms, which are separated by sliding shoji panels. A wooden gate, the sort commonly found at Shinto shrines, partitions the space.
Thomas expects Black Mountain will take to tea. “A lot of our customers will initially start with specialty teas or teas that are served with milk and honey,”she says. “But as they become more acclimated to the culture of tea and the taste of teas, we find that they begin to explore more exotic teas.”
Dobrá Tea, 120 Broadway St. in Black Mountain, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. In downtown Asheville, Dobrá is located at 78 N. Lexington Ave. For more information, visit dobrateanc.com.