DU Alumni

Alumnus is therapist turned tea master

In 2000, Greg Fellman (MSW ’98) had been serving as a therapist to sex offenders for two years when he hit burnout.

“I wanted to get as far away from sex offenders as possible,” he says.

And he did just that.

In March 2001, Fellman moved to China, where he began teaching English to adults. While there, he honed his practice of tai chi, an ancient meditative exercise, which in turn led him to discover a new passion: tea.

“We practiced martial arts, drank tea, practiced, drank tea,” he says. “It became a part of my lifestyle.”

It helped that Fellman was living in Hangzhou, a city outside Shanghai that is famous for its Dragonwell green tea.

After two years in China, Fellman returned and opened his own psychotherapy clinic, but he continued to study tea. He ordered rare leaves from China and stayed on top of the industry by reading and talking to tea aficionados.

Then, this year, he took a tea leap-of-faith. He opened Seven Cups Denver Chinese Teas at 1882 South Pearl St. He says he’s been thrilled with the community response.

“Tea lovers, the real aficionados, are finding me,” says Fellman. “For example, Puer tea is not really well known outside of China, but I have people coming in and asking for it.”

Colleen Attoma-Mathews (MSW ’98) has known Fellman for 12 years and says this new business makes sense for him on many levels.

“Greg is a definitely a people person,” she says. “He’s very social and very good at introducing new things to people. The tea house is a nice culmination of who Greg is.”

Seven Cups is a traditional Chinese tea house and carries Oolong, green, Puer, white, black and scented Chinese teas. Fellman holds free tea tastings every Friday at 3 p.m., including traditional tea ceremonies.

He says that one of his goals in opening the shop was to educate the public about high-quality Chinese teas.

“Denver doesn’t have anything like this,” he says. “We think of ourselves as a multicultural city, a big city, but we’re missing out if we don’t experience teas and places this.”

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