Decorated in warm, rich colors and tapestries, the shop instantly transports visitors into serene, relaxing interpersonal exchanges. Through her apothecary, Amen sells a wide variety of international teas and spices, as well as small plated dishes that include vegan desserts, samosas (pastries stuffed with curried vegetables), and soups. “I work with private farmers all over the world, some I know personally and others I’ve been introduced to. We communicate via e-mail and Skype.â€ Amen purchases only organic products, such as black tea from Sri Lanka, mint from Morocco, lemongrass from Thailand, and cinnamon, cardamom, and a bold relative of ginger called galangal from Vietnam. She blends–by hand–special recipes, which all have exotic names and effects. “I blend for health and wellness, energy lifting, sensuality, and hair, skin, and nails.â€ Chocolate Mandingo chai, made with Assam black tea, cloves, ginger, and other spices, is a favorite of Top Chef contestant Carla Hall. “It’s a top seller,â€ says Amen. Love Potion Number 10 (Amen’s grandmother’s recipe) is a blend of Sri Lankan black tea, black peppercorn, cinnamon, ginger, and aphrodisiac spices; My Last Good Nerve blends soothing herbs like lavender, cloves, and hibiscus; and Idris (named for the actor Idris Elba) is a Dominican chocolate-infused chai melded with other spices.
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