WHAT WE DO
We are purveyors of specialty loose leaf teas, matcha, and tisanes (herbal teas) from around the world. Most of our collection is sourced from family-owned tea gardens in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We are also makers of modern tea blends.
If you're looking for loose leaf tea in San Diego, please consider stopping by our retail shop in La Jolla, where you can browse single-origin teas and original blends. We're open Wed–Sun from 11–5. We also offer select teas for takeout, including house-milled matcha at our La Jolla shop, and semi-private tea tastings.
Growth. We believe in the individual and collective success of our team members.
Community. We aim to build long-term relations with our partners, clients, and patrons.
Wellness. We embrace mindful living with and throughout the community.
Creativity. We enjoy creative twists on tradition.
HOW IT STARTED
The idea first came when co-founders Amy Truong and Lani Gobaleza met in 2010 during a study abroad trip in Japan. Amy had long been interested in starting a tea company—even as a child, it had always been her preferred drink of choice—while Lani was fascinated by the drink's storied history.
A history lover and educator, Lani returned to Japan for a few years to live and work. During this time, she was introduced to garden-direct tea and tea as ceremony and as an everyday ritual.
Despite rigorous schedules in startup and food and wellness worlds in the Bay Area and SoCal, the pair traveled throughout Japan where they learned more about tea production, sourcing, and preparation.
They revisited the idea of PARU once again in 2017, this time with a clearer vision: to create and share moments of calm through tea.
That year, the pair began to participate in pop-ups throughout San Diego and launched a monthly specialty tea subscription.
The team has since worked with a number of beloved like-minded businesses and makers such as ADC Gelato, Deux Cranes, MAEK Ceramics, 1502 Candle Co, Modern Times Coffee, Seven Caves Spirits, Saint Archer Brewing Company, and more.
Thanks to the support of the local community, PARU was named "Best Tea" in San Diego by San Diego Magazine in 2018 and 2019.
CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL ROOTS
PARU was inspired largely by the founders' international backgrounds. Amy has family ties in Vietnam, Japan, and France. Lani's mother grew up on a farm in the Philippines, where coffee and tea were grown for the local community.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, Amy's grandfather, worked in Japan, leading international distribution of the Panasonic National rice cooker. The demand for this product was strong during the war. Rice cookers were on the list of emergency relief supplies for US soldiers in Vietnam, along with instant noodles and transistor radios. After the War, the family fled to Paris. As a refugee, Amy’s grandfather popularized the rice cooker all over again.
Amy, who has overseen operations at premium food delivery companies Methodology and Chef'd, also serves as PARU's primary tea buyer and blender.
"Blending is my way of creating and remembering. I tend to develop nostalgic blends that remind me of a specific time and place," Amy explained.
"For example, Blue Chamomile is something that reminds me of my family, and it's the tea we enjoy when we're able to get together every holiday. Coconut Chai is something I made for my partner, whose family loves creamy, sweet flavors and Christmas, so I was tasked with creating that in a blend.
Pandan Waffle came from my memories as a child visiting Vietnamese shops that served a dessert called Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa. Not everyone has the same associations, but it's really special when others can still appreciate our blends in their own way. In a way, they make it their own, and that's wonderful."