Magazine Feature / People

Attorney practices brewing tea

Harvey Miller (JD ’72) has never been much of a tea drinker. So what makes a longtime lawyer who doesn’t drink tea open a tea shop? The desire to brew a balanced life.

“The stress of practicing law can be pretty overwhelming,” says Miller, who’s been practicing law for more than 25 years. “I didn’t want to burn out.”

For two years, Miller and his wife, Nenita, ran a small tea shop on the weekends in July and August out of their vacation home — a re-purposed old general store — in Eagles Mere, Penn. When they saw an open storefront during a walk in their Lancaster, Penn., neighborhood, he thought, “Let’s take this a little more seriously.”

In 2004 they opened the Pemberley Tea Shop just two blocks from their home. Miller works full-time at the tea shop and practices law part-time after the shop closes in the late afternoon.

Although the shop is named for the Pemberley estate in Pride and Prejudice (one of Nenita’s favorite books), the shop’s décor is not the typical Victorian high-tea style.

“People have described it as ‘fusion,’” Miller says of the blended modern and classic food and surroundings.

The remodeled warehouse space has exposed beams and pipes, lots of natural light, and while it’s decorated with some tea-themed items, it has a mix of local art and unconventional furnishings.

“We don’t do frou-frou,” Miller laughs. “But it’s very homey and comfortable.”

The 1,500-square-foot shop serves 50–60 varieties of loose tea, plus baked goods (prepared by Miller), sandwiches, soups and other cafe fare.

“I never drank tea before opening the shop because I never really liked it,” Miller confesses. “Like most people, I was forced to drink plain Lipton tea when I was sick. But there are 2,000–3,000 types of tea, so there is so much variety.”

Running the shop also has given the Millers some “deeply enjoyed” time together.

“For 30 years, she went off to teach and I went off to do law, and we never got in a situation where we got to work together,” says Miller, who recently celebrated his 35th wedding anniversary.

Miller says his favorite time of day is at 4 p.m. when the shop closes and the couple enjoys a pot of tea together. They’ve even made a game of it.

“The person who makes it tries to surprise the other, and you get three guesses to name the tea. It really sharpens your skills,” he says.

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