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Tea & Whisk looks to steep patrons in tea knowledge in Henderson

Leo Lukidi wants to change the way you look at tea.

“It’s not just Lipton,” he said. “There is an art to tea.”

Lukidi recently opened Tea & Whisk, 10271 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 116, to allow people to try a variety of teas and teach them the various uses.

Walking into the store, people are immediately greeted with a display of 70 types of loose-leaf teas. Lukidi — along with his business partners Martin Ramos and Xiaohui Ma — is there to walk people through the different types to select a flavor that meets their palate. There is also a menu that explains the different types of teas.

Whether they are in the mood for something sweet and fruity or savory, Lukidi will find a tea. People can even pair different teas to get flavor combinations.

The idea came to him when he was visiting San Francisco and discovered a tea shop that was set up similar to a bar.

Coming back to Las Vegas — he is the general manager of KitcheNova at 4054 Schiff Drive — he realized tea options were limited.

Since the culture gravitates toward coffee, he wanted to change people’s minds about tea. Earlier this year, he set up a tea station at a Chinese New Year event. The products he offered were popular, convincing him there was something to his idea.

He and Ramos became business partners during the summer and set out to open Tea & Whisk, which held its ribbon cutting Oct. 17.

“I knew in the economy it is a risk to open a new business,” he said. “I think this is a good risk.”

Even though they have been open a short time, Lukidi said the business already has recurring customers.

“And they are coming from all over town,” Ramos added. “We have people coming from Boulder City.”

Lukidi added there are two types of customers.

“We get the person who already loves tea,” he said. “They know what they want, and they know how they want it.”

In addition to this clientele, Lukidi is hoping to attract new customers who want to learn more about tea.

Ramos said they even teach proper steeping techniques.

“We will get customers who have a preferred way of steeping,” Ramos said. “If that’s the way they want it, that’s fine.”

But for the most part, people are interested to learn about proper temperatures and steeping times.

Part of changing the mind-set of tea is getting people out of the habit of thinking about tea only as a health benefit, Lukidi said.

“You can drink tea for weight loss or helping for sleep,” he said.

However, tea can also be used in baking, infused with alcohol or used for entertaining.

In addition to teas, Tea & Whisk has other products from baked goods to cooking supplies to help broaden the tea experience. In the future, Lukidi hopes to offer classes and workshops on using tea with alcohol or how to cook with different types of tea.

Tea & Whisk is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit teaandwhisk.com or call 702-907-6543.

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.

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