PHOENIXVILLE - Billed as a "cozy little tea room," Serenitea is now open for both tea purchases and tea consumption.

Located at 10 South Main Street, proprietor Sheila Cain-Coghill said she recently got her license to open the tea room area of her venue.

"The shop's been open for two months, but the tea room opened last week," said Cain-Coghill. "Not only do we have a fine assortment of teas to be brewed, we are serving several types of pastries to compliment the tea."

Upon walking into Serenitea, customers will find the shop area, which has a variety of tea accessories such as teabag squeezers, teabag holders, tea strainers, trivets, and a bevy of teapots.

Located on the shelves in the right-hand side of the store are glass containers with 60 variations of loose leaf tea, including some decaffeinated brands. Such store favorites include Lover's Leap, a black tea from Sri Lanka which is best in the morning and after dinner; Pearl River, an organic green tea from China, described as a full green tea; Angel's Dream, a blend of black and green tea from India, which favors maple and blackberry; Orange Blossom Oolong, a premium oolong tea from China, wildly exotic; and Egyptian Chamomile, an herbal tea from Egypt, fruity and floral.

Cain-Coghill said the purpose of Serenitea is to pamper their visitors with the finest of teas and treats available.

"We want our customers to come into a peaceful, nurturing atmosphere and feel relaxed," said Cain-Coghill. "Taking the time to indulge yourself, it feeds the soul. We're here to make the tea and brew the tea. It takes some time so people can relax and not have a care in the world."

To go along with the assortment of teas are pastries that Cain-Coghill picks out herself at The Bakery at Chester Springs, in Chester Springs, and Delightful Desserts, in West Chester, Pa.

"One week I'll get some different types of tarts, or I'll lean towards cookies another week," she said. "We have everything from scones, tarts, cookies, and little cakes that go along well with our tea."

Beyond the store area, through the hanging stars and moons beads, is the tea room itself. The room, which has three tables with chairs for sit down tea drinking, is accented with decorative candles and a medley of oriental and half-moon ornaments.

One new feature Cain-Coghill is looking to bring to the tea room is the art of tasseography, which is the art of fortune telling with tea leaves.

"This'll give the customers something to dabble in while their tea is being brewed," she said. "Brewing good tea takes awhile."

Opening a tea room was an idea that took Cain-Coghill by surprise following an outing with her mother several years ago.

"I've had restaurant experience in the past, so I'd always wanted to do something like this," she said. "My brother gave my mother a gift certificate to a tea room in Gettysburg. My mother invited all of her daughters to come along for the day. When I walked inside this tea room, I was in total amazement. I told myself that this is what I want to do.

"When my position was eliminated at my previous employer a year ago, I took my 401K money and invested it into this venture. My husband Kelly and I live in Phoenixville, and although we were shown several locations throughout Chester County, we decided to look for a place in Phoenixville. We wanted to start a business in town, and Phoenixville is on its way up, and I'm on the ground floor."

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Cain-Coghill received her bachelors degree in Art at Catholic University, where she shared a class with a famous actress.

"In my drawing design class was (Academy Award-winning actress) Susan Sarandon," said Cain-Coghill. "She was already married at the time to (actor) Chris Sarandon. It was in a studio type environment. We spoke a few times, but never expected her to go on to become a successful actress."

Serenitea is located at 10 South Main Street, Phoenixville. Their phone number is 610-933-8884. Store hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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