Tchai Ovna: A Bohemian Haven in Glasgow's West End
Glasgow's West End is a treasure trove of eclectic cafes and cultural hotspots, and among them, was the cream of the crop, Tchai Ovna. Tchai Ovna was a specialty tea house and music venue that offered not only tea but a rich cultural experience, transporting you to a world of colour and culture, backed by soothing aromas.
Inside Tchai Ovna
Located down the cobblestone Otago Lane, in a charming 19th-century stable, Tchai-Ovna interior was characterised by mismatched chairs, Persian rugs, ceramic lamps, floor cushions, and hessian screens. It was a cross between a Moroccan tea room and a vintage den/living room, contributing to its overall charm.
The low tables and cushioned seating beckoned guests to relax and unwind. On sunny days, it was possible to sit outside in the tea garden, which was the perfect setting to read a book, journal, or simply watch the world go by in quiet contemplation.
The Closure of Tchai Ovna
Despite its popularity, Tchai Ovna faced the threat of closure due to a proposed luxury flats development on Otago Lane. In response, a community campaign emerged to preserve the tea house.
This successfully delayed the initial plans but unfortunately, persistent challenges from developers, coupled with broader industry issues, led to Tchai Ovna's closure in July 2023. The farewell was marked by a month-long festival featuring multiple musical events.
Following the closure of its physical venue, Tchai Ovna redirected its focus to tea sales through its website. The business also embraced a more nomadic approach, participating in pop-up stalls and events.
Tchai Ovna: For the Tea Lovers
Distinguished as Scotland's first speciality tea house, Tchai Ovna had (and continues to have online) an extensive collection of over 80 carefully chosen, high-grade loose teas.
Over the course of 20 years, the tea house perfected its traditional chai recipes, such as Yogi Yogi Tchai, Desi Tchai, and its Bombay Lemongrass Tchai. Additionally, they have crafted unique blends like Fairies Blood, Vietnamese Black Snow Fairy, and Golden Flower Of Healing.
Alongside trying these glorious teas sourced from around the world, including some of the tea capitals like China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Japan you can also purchase other tea ware like tea pots and tea cups, spices and gifts.
Ethically Sourced Products
Established in 2000, Tchai Ovna’s steadfast commitment to using ethical principles immediately set the company apart from its competition. Since its inception it has made ethical sourcing a priority, with a majority of teas being Fairtrade, organic, and directly obtained. By doing this Tchai Ovna has fostered open and inclusive relationships with its spice and tea farmers abroad, ensuring that they are the direct beneficiaries of their product.
Tchai Ovna's direct procurement from communities practising humanitarian and eco-friendly methods is something we’d all like to see a bit more from our local brands.
A Cultural Hub in Glasgow
More than just an online shop, Tchai Ovna is firmly part of the Glaswegian community. When it resided on Otago Lane it acted as an events venue creating a space where creativity could flourish. It played host to the expression of local artists through dramatic performances, poetry readings, and art exhibitions. The walls adorned with local artwork and the intimate stage, made every visit a chance to discover new talent and immerse yourself in Glasgow's vibrant arts scene.
The venue also became a hotspot for musicians, featuring regular performances by songwriters, jazz musicians, and artists spanning local and global genres. Notably, Tchai Ovna's influence extended even into the music scene, as Belle and Sebastian chose its West End location for the cover art of their 2003 album, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress."
No longer restrained by the confines of a physical setting, Tchai Ovna now lives on as a pop up at lots of different events throughout Scotland. You might catch them at anything from music festivals and healing events, to the more typical tea tastings and community ceremonies.
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