The Green Teahouse: A Journey of Tradition and Inspiration

Written by Itzel Martinez Garcia

July 8, 2024

The Business Journey

In 2009, Ting Luo, with the support of her two brothers, embarked on a journey to share the rich tradition of Chinese tea culture with the American community. They opened their first tea shop in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square. The success of this location led to the opening of a second shop on Chapel Street in New Haven in 2014. Four years later, in 2018, Ting decided to merge both stores into one central location at Westfarms Mall. This move allowed her to streamline operations and better serve her growing customer base. This August, The Green Teahouse will celebrate its 15-year anniversary, marking a significant milestone in its journey.

Business and Services

Initially, The Green Teahouse focused on traditional Chinese tea and its cultural significance. However, Ting quickly realized the need to adapt to local preferences. She began custom blending loose leaf tea with traditional herbs and flavorful ingredients like lemon, peach, and strawberry. In addition to loose leaf tea, she introduced handcrafted tea cups and bubble teas to go, which were crucial for the tea shop’s continuity.

Today, The Green Teahouse offers a variety of services, including Chinese tea ceremonies by appointment, wedding favors, tea classes for schools and corporations, and tea catering. They also have an online shopping cart that allows customers across the country to purchase their unique blends.

Inspiration and Start

Ting’s inspiration to start The Green Teahouse came from her own experiences after moving to the USA. She noticed that many Americans were curious about the tea she drank but had little knowledge about loose leaf teas and their rich culture. The stark difference between the tea bag teas available in grocery stores and the traditional teas she was accustomed to, motivated her to share her knowledge and experience.

HEDCO’s Assistance

During the pandemic, The Green Teahouse received a $13,500 HEDCO-SAMA grant in 2020. This financial support was vital in maintaining employees who helped enhance and maintain the online shopping cart and provide customer support services, a critical need when most shopping had moved online.

Seeking Financial Services

Ting’s journey with HEDCO began on the recommendation of her business advisor, Denise Whitford. Initially hesitant, Ting’s visit to the HEDCO office revealed the organization’s mission and commitment to small businesses in Connecticut. This experience left her impressed and grateful for the support.

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Ting’s advice for those starting their own business is powerful and encouraging: 

“Don’t work alone, there are many free resources in CT to help you to grow your business. We are so fortunate to receive their expertise and support. Work with businesses agencies like HEDCO, SBA, SBDC, connect with local chambers of commerce. Lastly, be thankful and grateful for everyone and everything!” says Ting.

Recent Achievements

Ting’s dedication and hard work were recently recognized when she received the Minority Business of the Year 2024 award. This accolade has been a significant encouragement for her. She hopes more small business owners, especially immigrants, will become aware of the support available through small business agencies in Connecticut.

The Green Teahouse stands as a testament to the blend of tradition and innovation, embracing how local tastes and traditions can foster a successful and enduring business.HEDCO is here to support any business, at any stage. Contact us to learn more about our programs and how we can help you achieve your business goals.

The Green Teahouse Website:

Visit The Green Teahouse today, located on the first floor of Westfarms Mall, next to Macy’s.
The Green Teahouse
500 Westfarms Mall, E 132
Farmington, Connecticut 06032