By: Shania Lipinski
(GREENSBURG, Pa.)– It’s that time of year when college students are feeling the brute force of all of their assignments piling up and the overwhelming feeling of anxiety that brews as they attempt to get everything submitted on time. For many students, the nearing middle of the semester could threaten mental health as they search for ways to relax and unwind. With the introduction of one of Greensburg’s newest tea shops, Steep Mountain Tea Company, Seton Hill University students are finding themselves feeling rejuvenated and welcome.
“It’s become a really great place to hang out with my friends and get work done,” said Jake Carnhan-Curcio, a sophomore art therapy major at SHU. This was part of the multitude of reasons that Marcus and Judy Weakland decided to open the Steep Mountain Tea Company. The mother-son duo are passionate about tea and speak highly of the Seton Hill Community and its students.
Marcus Weakland, Judy’s son, co-owner, and Seton Hill alum, said, “there’s always been coffee shops. We wanted to provide a place for the community to gather, learn about tea, and relax. It really took on a life of its own and came together so magically.”
Judy Weakland, the other co-owner of the new tea shop, said, “the students are so nice and kind. They bring an amazing energy when they enter the space. Everyone feels like family when they come here.”
In Judy’s words, their family has a “Seton Hill Heart,” and because of this, they decided to add their tea shop to the Griffin Advantage program for Seton Hill students. Judy and Marcus are also very open to collaborating with Seton Hill clubs and organizations, as well as other family-owned businesses. They are looking to hold events such as paint and sips there soon.
The tea shop opened in July of this year and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Another feature that makes them different from other cafe is that they now have QR Codes for those with pets to order outside. They will personally bring your tea outside to you so no one has to leave their furry friend behind.
The co-owners have credited their success to their customers and the community. “We are so thankful that the community has embraced us like this,” Judy said.
I asked both Judy and Marcus Weakland what they felt their most popular drinks were. They kindly allowed me to try three different teas and one Italian soda.
London Fog: This tea contains earl gray with a hint of lemon. They are now adding lavender to this tea, which makes it even sweeter. Jake Carnahan-Curcio said that this was his favorite tea to purchase and that he highly recommends it.
Strawberry Matcha Latte: Made with strawberry popping and strawberry puree. This one was my personal favorite out of all of the teas I tried. The strawberry flavors really help balance the slightly bitter, but savory taste of the matcha. If you are a fan of matcha, this latte is the perfect tea for you!
Jasmine Milk Tea with Honey Popping Bubbles: This tea was very sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave a good balance of flavors and overall, had a good spin on a classic tea that many come to enjoy.
If you are not a tea drinker, they also offer Italian soda. The one I tried was flavored blue raspberry. It tasted very sweet, but the carbonation broke it up and made it quite enjoyable. They also offer other flavors and there is something for everyone here at Steep Mountain Tea Company.
I highly recommend any and all of these teas and sodas to anyone who is interested in an intimate place that has a very friendly atmosphere. There was not a single tea that I tried that I did not like. Even though they are all different, they all offered the same personal experience that you get from every drink. They are all made on the spot and you get to watch the employees put them together as they tell you about the different teas and their properties. Both Judy and Marcus Weakland were very knowledgeable and so kind to allow me to try their popular drinks that we have all come to know and love. Make sure to pay them a visit!