With an abundance of boba shops seemingly over saturating Colorado’s restaurant scene, it can be a real challenge to stand out. However, Lakewood’s newest shop Arden Tearoom has managed to do that with its list of colorful and out-of-the-box tea beverages.
Owner Lisa Nguyen created Arden Tearoom with a strong desire to add diversity by making all-natural drinks removing any fruit-flavored syrups or artificial powders while also creating a visually aesthetic cup of tea. While recognizing society’s phones eat first mentality, Nguyen did a lot of online research to find various tea shops in Asia that utilize premium tea leaves and real fruit to create gradient colored drinks with scintillating flavor combinations.
Nguyen worked as a pharmacy technician prior to opening Arden Tearoom. After trying to replicate so many of those masterful recipes for friends and family, this hobby became her profession. Having lived in Colorado her whole life, it was only right that she would open a storefront in Lakewood. Working close to home also gives Nguyen more time to help take care of her dependent father who unfortunately suffers from a stroke.
While Nguyen puts a lot of love and care into her family, she mirrors that same attention to her new business venture. When asked where the garden theme came from, she mentioned the excess of books she read on the history of tea leaves and the progression of tea consumption throughout time. She came across a similar case where women in the 1900s would host tea parties as one of the only ways to earn income. The idea of these women creating a social change sparked an interest in Nguyen. Because tea rooms were classically held in gardens, Nguyen pulled from the similar Alice in Wonderland tea party scene to create a whimsical atmosphere, threatening the status quo.
Arden’s carefully crafted menu includes drinks like a strawberry matcha latte, the Twilight with caffeine-free herbal tea and lemonade, Sommerset with Jasmine tea and fresh strawberry purée, aloe matcha and handmade coffee Jell-O.
As for toppings like boba pearls and jelly, she chose to only offer select flavors that enhance the drink. Often times, flavored boba can add extra sweetness to a drink and take away from the natural taste of the tea leaves.
“I take a lot inspiration for my recipes from Japan, China and what my family and friends suggest,” Nguyen said.
Due to dine-in restrictions, the limited menu only offers drinks for the time being. She is looking to expand and offer sweet treats like egg waffles or waffles on a stick in the near future. Opening a restaurant of any scale during a pandemic has been proven to be quite challenging but the optimism of the community is there to keep new businesses like this afloat.
“I ordered supplies and tea leaves from Japan back in January and when everything shutdown I never really got my orders. It’s been hard to get the basic necessities to open like cups and lids but the support we have received has made me pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think people would want to come out during a pandemic to try something new. Without everyone’s support we wouldn’t be here,” Nguyen said.
Arden Tearoom is located at 3355 S. Yarrow St. Unit E-115, Lakewood. It is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon- 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon-8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m.-8 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas