Welcome visitors to Cha Cha's Tea Lounge, a tea cafe started in 2017 with the mission of bringing a good cup of tea & nourishing food to downtown Phoenix.
We are tea people who have grown up in Phoenix & found it hard to find a good cup of tea at cafes around the valley. Cha Cha's began with the desire to get people excited and happy about a good cup of tea!
If you've never experienced our tea cafe before, our staff is super friendly and happy to suggest based on your preferences!
Meet Ashley! She has created a space that will have you feeling like you found exactly what you were searching for.
Born in Long Beach, California, moved to Tucson & eventually Phoenix, where she grew up in her own earthy world, with her head in the clouds and bare feet. When she was a kid, she chose plants, potions, & the outdoors to keep her Virgo roots grounded in the desert soil. During school she studied mushrooms & insects, while working as a Naturalist with the Girl Scouts. She also volunteered doing many odd community things: Food Not Bombs, No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, Atheists Helping the Homeless, Teaching classes on kombucha making at the Tucson & Prescott Anarchist Libraries, AmeriCorps Commitment, & the Prescott area Women's Shelter. She is presently on the board of directors for the Phoenix Food CoOp, please check it out on IG, as they are getting ready to fund raise to get a building in Downtown Phoenix! There are words that her ocean loving father passed down to her, that echo in her daily work: All life comes from water, be with the womb. Ashley continues to work in the community in dt phx & works daily with earth & water elements on her journey in life.
Tea Background: Her knowledge of tea takes us back over 20 years ago to when she first fell in love with the world's favorite beverage. She was introduced to quality tea at the annual Japanese Matsuri Festival that happens in Downtown Phoenix. The love began in 2001 and she was 17, with a warm invitation into a dark enclosed tent set up at the heart of the festival, it was a Japanese Matcha Tea Ceremony experience put on by the local Japanese Friendship Garden. A woman stood at the entrance to the shrouded & mysterious tent, quietly & politely beckoning folks to come and taste an authentic sip of matcha. Once inside, the well choreographed experience that is the Japanese Tea Ceremony put Ashley on the beautiful path of tea that brings us here today.
She wanted to feed her endless desire to learn & experience all there was about tea. Ashley visited and absorbed all she could from the local shops that existed in the hot city so many years ago. Chakra 4 Herbs (still exists today as Loose Leaf Tea Market), Mandala Tea, Souvia Tea, Tempe Food CoOp... spending hours on the 5th floor of Burton Barr library reading the limited selection of tea books in existence. Then at 19 , began mixing and blending teas to sell. She had teas in a few Phoenix coffee shops, most well known was the Phoenix Public Market (which in those days was closer to a little local market compared to the restaurant that it evolved to). At the age of 21, she moved to Tucson where she sold her first retail box of tea to some rock goblins at the Gem & Mineral Show. Down there she discovered Seven Cups Tea Room and recognized what an amazing shop they had created which focused on teas only from China. She was then selling teas & blends at several farmers markets in the dusty desert town~ Tucson is a UNESCO food heritage city, which means you experience food at it's roots. Learning so much about what it means to love food and have a passion. In Tucson, she got her herbalist certificate from the famous Southwest herbalist in Bisbee, AZ: Michael Moore of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. She moved to Phoenix with an opportunity (she'll say she sold her soul at this point) to work for Teavana. A small tea chain that was just beginning their expansion at the time so she was able to grow within their expanding empire. She started as a team lead, then moved into assistant manager, then manager, then to corporate tea trainer. In that position she worked with roughly 40 stores, training hundreds of new employees on the world of tea. Also working to convert the chain of Canadian stores, Teaopia, into Teavanas, when the company bought them in 2012. And again she was part of a larger merger when Starbucks bought Teavana in 2013. She worked under the Teavana brand of Starbucks for a few years when it became clear that an end was nearing for the tea brand that brought loose tea back to popularity in the US. When she created an exit strategy for herself with a burning desire to open her own ye ol' tea shoppe. She left in 2014 to work for a local Phoenix shop, Souvia Tea. She wanted to learn hands on, from another small tea business how to make it successful, while also running a small food truck she built! She eventually sold her food truck & cashed in her Starbucks retirement to start Cha Cha's Tea Lounge! Ta-dah~ you made it to where we are today... well close enough, we were in a smaller space a 1/2 block away from our current location a few years ago, and moved into this new larger spot in 2021. That's the story and here we are~ you can find Ashley speaking about quality tea at various tea events throughout the West Coast/Southwest or being a true tea introvert~ denying her existence to curious customers as she brings them a fresh pot of hot tea.
Photo: Michael Jennings Photography @MichaelJPhoto_