Mie Mie Sein
Owner and Founder
Mie Mie Sein is the proprietress of Sawadee (meaning welcome in Thai) Tea House located in the heart of downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Originally from the small village of Chiang Mai in Thailand, tea has been a part of her life and culture since day one. When she moved to Canada in 1990, she brought her love and passion of tea with her. Her quaint and cultural tea house nestled in the heart of the Granville Square Market is a one of a kind shop that has been selling exotic wares, furniture, and some of the finest and freshest teas one can hope to find anywhere in the world since 2007.
"When I first moved to Canada, I couldn't find fresh loose leaf tea. So, I did some research and started to order my own," explains Mie Mie. "This tea shop was originally supposed to be a furniture store- the people would come to look at the tables and chairs but would stay for the tea. I've been selling tea here ever since."
In addition to Sawadee Tea House's extensive selection of over 350 teas from around the world, Mie Mie offers an added service- as a herbalist, botany major, and Ayurvedic apprentice, Mie Mie uses her medicinal knowledge in
conjunction with her vast collection of teas to mix special concoctions for her clients to treat and heal many ailments. Top selling medicinal teas include her hangover cure, enertea, and a wide assortment of weigh loss, flu, and headache solutions just to name a few.
Mie Mie's mantra is to sell fresh loose leaf teas that are a high quality, at a fair price, from a local shop. The family business is primarily composed of Mie Mie and her son Jeremy, so don't be surprised if you see one or both of them tending the store when you walk in.
For those eco and health minded individuals, Mie Mie has taken the time to visit most of the plantations her teas come from, in addition to offering a steady and diverse assortment of fair trade and organic teas. Supporting local farmers and their communities is a value that has resonated with Mie Mie since her childhood. She can especially relate to the work it takes to grow herbs for teas from her own experience in the Annapolis Valley where she owns and manages her own farm which supplies teas to her shop in the summer months.
"This shop is my home and a calming place for me to come each day and to remind me of my home," says Mie Mie. "In Southeast Asia, drinking tea is as much of a form of hospitality as it is used for health and rejuvenation. I try to share this experience with everyone who comes through my shop."
When asked how many cups of tea she drinks each day, Mie Mie responds with a laugh saying over 16, but with good quality tea, you can reuse it over and over.
Apprentice and Son
As a tea apprentice, you will often see Jeremy at the Sawadee Tea House diligently attending to customers and mixing his own tea blends. He is also the son of Mie Mie and the store's longest standing employee. For the past six years, he has spent most of his summers and afternoons after school working behind the counter, meeting customers and learning about the products and trade from his mother. Upon his completion of high school in 2013, Jeremy has decided to continue his apprenticeship at the tea house and as a part of the family business.
"I was welcomed into the business when it opened in 2008 and today, this shop is also my home," Jeremy comments. "I really enjoy serving the customers and learning about wellness teas."
Jeremy also notes that he enjoys relaxing at the shop, describing it as a traditional oriental style noting the sounds of flowing water from the stone fountain at the entrance, teak furniture, and the large wall collection of teas, all labelled and neatly ordered on wooden shelves.
"This shop is important to me because it is a healthy and calming place to rejuvenate," he concludes. "There's nothing more peaceful than relaxing with a cup of your favourite tea and a healthy food option to escape a busy day."