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Lake Magazine
     November 15, 2017      #30-318 LK1
 
COME ON, GET HAPPY, LEARN HOW TO CUP TEA

A remarkable thing happens when you drink good tea the right way: Not only does it smell and taste amazing, you can actually feel your mood begin to lift with each sip. For the tea connoisseur this four-step drinking technique, called “cupping,” is the only way to fully experience and rate the quality of the tea. Th is age-old tradition is gaining ground in the U.S. as people appreciate the big-picture benefits associated with living a more holistic life, a life in which a daily dose of China’s national drink plays a big part.

Just ask Robert and Amy Kress, owners of the Healing Arts Professional Pharmacy for You (HAPPY) in St. Joseph, Michigan, about the power and pleasure of tea. “I would never tell someone that drinking tea will automatically make them healthy or cure an ailment,” explains Amy, a licensed aesthetician with glowing skin and a business degree, “but research has shown that drinking certain high quality tea gives your body needed antioxidants and minerals that will help you become more nutritionally balanced.” Robert, a licensed pharmacist who looks more like a California surfer than a professional nutritionist, is also quick to add that, if nothing else, drinking tea allows a person to kick back, slow down and enjoy the moment. “That in itself is a good way to help balance your natural body chemicals,” he says.

Mastering that balance for others is what this energetic couple does best. In addition to being a full-blown pharmacy with all the conventional amenities, HAPPY offers a wide variety of homeopathic and alternative medicines that are free of harmful ingredients and preservatives— including personal care products for the whole family, and veterinary formulations for pets. The couple also offers nutritional consultations for people and physicians interested in a more customized approach to their current medication program.

But when talk turns to tea, they both light up. Which is why their literature invites people to stop by and “Come to your HAPPY Place!” Inside the progressively friendly shop is a special room that showcases more than 70 varieties of the finest rare and choice artisan teas from around the world. There is the champagne of teas, named Darjeeling, grown in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains for its dry, Muscat-like overtones. Or the delicately sweet, handpicked white tea selection with enchanting scents and names like Plum Berry, Jasmine Snow Buds and Silver Needle. For those in search of a more targeted reaction, like more energy or better rest, try the tea-like drink called tisane, made by steeping various herbs, flowers and spices in boiling water. The choices are endless. Just when you think you’ve found a favorite tea, one whiff of another will make you wonder.

But that’s a good thing. Because the Kresses believe that those who experience rare teas properly prepared will find that the tea will wash away the dust of everyday living and bring tranquility to their souls. They should know. Before opening their store in November of 2004, the pair spent months researching the perfect source to import tea. They decided to recruit a professional tea purveyor who travels the Orient in search of small estate tea farms with one common thread—high standards. The types of tea they offer represent just two percent of the wide array of teas that are imported into this country, Amy Kress says. “This tea comes from bushes that are hundreds of years old, and only the top three buds from the early flush [spring] of the tea plant are picked,” she says.

Robert Kress’s advice to Lipton lovers who buy grocery store tea? “Stop it!” he says with a laugh. “Those teas are so mass produced, there are all kinds of particles in them, like bark, because they take practically the whole bush and grind it down.” For an unforgettable cup of tea, smart health advice, and a demonstration of cupping tea, head to your “happy place.”

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