Kinley opens tea house
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
A partnership between GECU and Kinley’s is leading to a new venue that will cater primarily to a tea oriented crowd and those looking for financial guidance. The Tea House will be located next to Kinley’s House of Coffee and Tea and is scheduled to open sometime in the fall, said Kinley Pon, owner of Kinley’s and co-owner of The Tea House.
“It spawns from one individual to many individuals, so for GECU and for myself to collectively combine forces like this is unreal, totally unreal,” Pon said. “It’s not going to be a competition.”
The Tea House will provide the usual commodities such as Wi-Fi, lounge areas and a mezzanine with an open balcony. It will offer a wide selection of tea and, on the side, a specialized coffee of the week.
“I believe there is a crowd of people, and I include myself, who prefer tea over coffee,” said Leslie Yapor, junior commercial music major. “It’s soothing (tea), there are so many different flavors, and I know coffee has different flavors too, but tea is different. There’s a different warmth to the heart. Tea is a bit closer to Mother Nature.”
Asides from serving tea, The Tea House will be educating customers in financial literacy, according to Pon. GECU will be specifically providing those resources, and they will be hosting seminars, conferences and symposiums from time to time.
“Basically together we found there is a need in regards to educating young future entrepreneurs or business people, or those who will be in the market,” Pon said. “Students can be educated in regards (to) say, (how to) use and handle money along with its value.”
Pon said he envisioned the new addition as a concept that will accommodate the clientele from Kinley’s House but with an emphasis on the tranquility created by its ambiance.
“There’s going to be atmosphere, water in the background, a patio that is going to have a two-tier terrace patio on the side facing the university,” Pon said. “I always call it a safe haven to come to a coffee house and now you’re having another safe haven to go to.”
Although the new house will be devoted to tea, Pon said there is going to be feature specialty coffees as a secondary focus, so it will interest coffee lovers for its uniqueness and exclusivity.
“We’re going to brew the coffee individually, customizing the drink to each individual’s needs,” Pon said. “Everyone has an opportunity to come into The Tea House and if they don’t wish to have tea, they can have a specialty coffee. It’s not the same product; the quality in how it’s handled and served will be different from both locations.”
The two locations, despite being so close to each other will not compete with one another, according to Pon. They are two separate concepts that are similar in execution but distinct in their ultimate purpose, he said.
“I’m not going to carry the same thing at all, there’s not going to be any sandwiches there or yogurt. I’m not going to have any crepes either,” Pon said. “I’m going to keep it simple. A tea house is simple; it’s very tranquil and soothing because of its quiet atmosphere.”
Miriam Vazquez, UTEP philosophy graduate, said she is excited for the prospect of a new alternative to the coffee houses near campus.
“I think that’s excellent, part of the attraction of either Kinley’s or Starbucks in a sense is it’s not the library, or the regular campus where you go to study,” Vazquez said. “Sometimes you need a break but when it’s very crowded it’s not conductive to productive work and so if you have a tea house with a more relaxed ambiance it’s even better.”
According to Pon, The Tea House is the completion of a vision that started back in 2004 when Kinley’s House of Coffee and Tea first opened. Pon, a UTEP alumnus, said he believes that the ability to touch as many lives as he can defines his legacy in the community.
“The coffee house has been great, (it) has been awesome. I’ve had kids that are first, second, third year medical students and they’ve graduated and they’re doctors now from the coffee house itself,” Pon said. “As long as I’m alive here, I hope that the coffee and tea house can touch people’s lives and make an impact of some sort.”
Mario Simental may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.