What is TEA?

What is tea? Great information on Tea from Tea Madame in Tacoma Washington
What is tea? Great information on Tea from Tea Madame in Tacoma Washington

What is TEA? This is one of the most frequent questions we receive, as well as one of the most confusing, with each person having a different definition of what TEA is to THEM.

Technically speaking, TEA is a specific plant, Camellia Sinensis, as well as the beverage derived from it.

However, the US tends to refer to anything steeped in water as TEA.

Examples include:

  • Peppermint Tea
  • Bath Tea
  • Compost Tea

Now, none of these items are even actual TEA. Two of which, you don`t even drink.

Compost Tea is composted matter that you steep like tea to create a natural fertilizer.

It is incredibly beneficial for gardens, but not exactly something you’d like to have a tall mug of. NOT TEA.

Peppermint Tea is not TEA either. It is simply dried Peppermint leaves, soaked in hot water to make a caffeine-free beverage. It’s packed with health benefits, sure, but is NOT TEA.

Bath Tea is a trendy new description of soaking in the tub with calming herbs floating around and infusing your bathwater. Good for relaxation and your skin, sure, but still NOT TEA.

REAL TEA is again, Camellia Sinensis. All types of TEA are specifically processed, based on who, what, when and where, into the five main types of TEA.

White TEA is the original type of TEA based on Process.

Plucked by hand, and then dried naturally, nothing is done to it to start or stop oxidation (the browning of the leaf).

The taste tends to be light in body with soft notes of straw, chestnut, and Honeysuckle. Airy, Light, it’s typically not for the coffee guzzling, Rich, Deep, and Dark Tea loving person. Always try it, you might be surprised.

Green Tea is processed to ensure the leaves do not oxidize.

Green Tea is plucked by hand, withered in the sun, then rolled. Immediately after the rolling, the leaf MUST be heated in some from to prevent the browning of the leaf. Steaming and Pan firing are the two main forms of heat used. Delaying the heating after rolling would allow oxidation to occur, thus making it no longer Green Tea.

Oolong Tea is a semi oxidized leaf. Alternating rolling, heating, basket rolling result in a medium bodied, Not Green, and Not Black tea experience. Oolong boasts a unique range of flavors and strengths and is an incredibly versatile type of tea.

 Jade or Light Oolongs can look just like Green Tea, with Amber Oolongs looking more like Black tea. This type can vary more than any other tea, ranging in percentage of oxidation, rather than Green Tea, which is unoxidized, or Black Tea, which is completely oxidized.

Black Tea is fully oxidized leaf, allowed to turn brown by not heating the leaves after the rolling process.

Black tea was considered the darkest, most bold type of TEA, but then we met Pu-erh Tea.

Pu-erh to me, is the most important and agreeably the most mysterious type of tea in history.

Pu-erh Tea is Fermented and Aged Green Tea. This process calms and soften harsh tannins in tea, resulting in a smooth, rich, dark, and earthy beverage that many coffee drinkers find delicious.

Rooibos is called Red Tea, but in fact the term is more accurately Red Bush. A caffeine-free alternative to Tea, this leaf is delicious and rich, with no detectable tannins, and a great option if caffeine or bitterness are an issue.

Enjoy your day with a cup of tea that makes you happy.

LaDonna Olmstead
Owner – Tea Madame

Pacific Northwest Gifts and Engraving

West Coast Laser Design - Pacific Northwest branded gifts and engraving

West Coast Laser Design is a family-owned and operated business located in Ruston, Washington. This mother and daughter duo has a passion for creating unique and high-quality laser engraving products, and their retail location at the Waterfront Market at Ruston is the perfect place to find unique Pacific Northwest gifts.

As a full-service Tacoma Washington laser engraving company, West Coast Laser Design offers a wide range of services and products. From custom engravings on drinkware and kitchenware to personalized gift items and home decor, their selection is extensive and always evolving. They take great pride in their work and strive to provide the best possible quality for each and every product they create.

One of the things that sets West Coast Laser Design apart is their focus on local and Pacific Northwest-themed gifts. Whether you’re looking for a special keepsake to remind you of your time in the area or a unique gift for someone who loves the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find it at West Coast Laser Design. Their selection includes items like engraved cutting boards and coasters featuring local landmarks, as well as beautiful wooden boxes and ornaments adorned with intricate laser-engraved designs.

In addition to their retail location, West Coast Laser Design also offers their laser engraving services for custom orders. Whether you have your own item that you’d like to have engraved or you want to work with their team to create a one-of-a-kind piece, they are happy to help. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff is always available to assist with your design ideas and ensure that you get the perfect product for your needs.

If you’re in the Ruston waterfront area, be sure to visit West Coast Laser Design at the Waterfront Market at Ruston. Their beautiful and unique Pacific Northwest gifts make the perfect addition to any collection, and their exceptional laser engraving services are sure to impress. Stop by today and see what West Coast Laser Design has to offer!

Eco Repurpose Boutique: Shop Responsibly

Eco Repurpose Boutique - Eco friendly and ethical shopping in Ruston Washington
Eco Repurpose Boutique - Eco friendly and ethical shopping in Ruston Washington
Eco Repurpose Boutique is a small family-owned minority Tacoma business that has evolved over time with what they consider important to us as parents and grandparents. To leave this planet in a better condition for all of our families. One of  Norma’s (the owners) favorite quotes is:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Maya Angelou
Eco Repurpose Boutique’s mission is to find products that are eco-friendly, cruelty free, made by people that are treated with respect and paid a livable wage.

There are several benefits to buying products that are cruelty-free, made by people who are treated with respect and paid a livable wage. Some of these benefits include:

  • Supporting companies that have ethical and humane practices, which can help promote a more compassionate and just society.
  • Helping to ensure that the workers who produce the products are treated fairly and have access to good working conditions and fair wages.
  • Contribute to the global economy in a positive way, by supporting companies that engage in ethical business practices.
  • Buying cruelty-free products is also better for the environment, as many companies that engage in animal testing also use harmful chemicals in their products.
  • Supporting companies that engage in ethical practices can also help to encourage other companies to adopt similar practices, leading to positive change in the global marketplace.

Overall, buying products that are cruelty-free, made by people who are treated with respect and paid a livable wage can have a positive impact on both individuals and society as a whole.

Norma Irish owner of Tacoma small business Eco Repurpose Boutique


Has been a small business owner for over 15 years combined. A U.S Army veteran, board member for the Iron Cross Foundation a 501c3 non-profit charity that granted scholarships to aspiring male gymnasts, a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) with Pierce County Juvenile Court, a licensed foster parent in Washington State. Fun Fact Norma is a certified balloon artist!

Norma been married to her best friend and husband Joshua Irish for more than 25 years, mother of seven and grandmother of two.

Honoring Our Veterans 2022

Veteran's Day display at the Waterfront Market at Ruston

This week Waterfront Market at Ruston vendors are honoring our veterans with an up close and personal Veteran’s Day display. We have a number of veterans who you see daily here at the market including Norma, Lilly, John and Evan, and we thank you so much for your service. Veteran’s Day falls on November 11th this year and the display will be viewable form Nov 7th – Nov 13th.

On Friday the 11th from 1pm-2pm, an official color guard from McChord Airforce Base will make an appearance to view the display and honor our vets.

The local market vendors who have provided personal memorabilia for the display are John and Sheri form Shugies, Lilly Sunflower Soul Apothecary, Norma from Eco Repurpose Boutique, Greg from Fardell Farm’s, Elonka and Yolli from Taco Street and Ashleigh from Purple Peacock . Come down and visit this wonderful display commemorating our veterans. We encourage everyone that can to come down and check out this great memorial to our fallen and please come show up for the color guard ceremony on Friday November 11th.

Father’s Day Shopping Saturday

Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston
Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston

This Saturday, while shopping for dad (Father’s Day is Sunday!) every time you make a purchase at Waterfront Market at Ruston, you can enter to win a Dad Gift Basket! Lot’s of great products that any dad would enjoy. Great gifts from Owens Meats, Black Fleet Brewing, Eco Repurpose Boutique, Shugies, Purple Peacock, Tea Madame, West Coast Laser Design, Love Laura and Natures Needles! 

Raffle results will be on Saturday at 6pm, just in time for Father’s Day! 

Shop for dad this weekend while supporting local Tacoma businesses and artists! See you at the market!

Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston

International Women’s Day 2022

International Women's Day at Waterfront Market at Ruston
International Women's Day Logo
Waterfront Market at Ruston

A market is only as good it’s vendors and many of our vendors here at the Waterfront Market are female owned and operated.

Today is International Women’s Day and the Waterfront Market at Ruston wanted to give a wholehearted shout out to all of our woman owned businesses. Without your strong leadership, incredible market insights, business savviness and incredible products, the Waterfront Market would not be what it is today.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. This year’s theme is about breaking the bias, working towards a world that is free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. 

Below are just some of Waterfront Market’s women owned businesses and some stories, bios and offerings celebrating the International Women’s Day 2022:

Taco Street Owner - Elonka Perez

Elonka Perez – Taco Street

“Being a Woman in business has many challenges and obstacles. I find inspiration from all the talented & extremely devoted women around me. Success never comes easy, and these women never give up. With each challenge that lays in front of us I witness resolve and determination to achieve the goals we’ve set.  Balancing motherhood, personal life, and the desire to reach new heights in business has been the adventure of a lifetime and I hope that I’ve been able to show my daughter and all the other ladies along the way that there are no limits and only opportunities.

I would be nothing if it weren’t for the amazing team of women that I work with daily. Thank you all so much for all you’ve taught me along the way. “

Black Fleet Brewing

Laura Byce – Black Fleet Brewing

“This weekend Black Fleet Brewing will be featuring Thea legacy at the market place .  This American wheat ale originally brewed with Tammy Trinkle and Deidre Foss the great great great granddaughter of Thea Foss.  Thea’s Legacy is an American wheat ale brewed with cherry blossoms and rose petals.  It’s dedicated it to Thea Foss for her entrepreneurship well as her Contribution to the Tacoma community and women throughout our nation.  Tammy Trinkle was a pioneer in her own right as well as one of the few women who help build the Tacoma Dome, she contributed and broke barriers for women throughout our area.  Available in 32 ounce and 16 ounce cans this brew is so popular we bring it back every year in celebration of women everywhere.  Black Fleet Brewing is a woman owned business.  Today (Tuesday) Caitlyn Byce and Kyle Maxwell will be brewing a hibiscus brew which will be available for Mother’s Day.”

Pashmina Palace Owner

Annika Jones – Pashmina Palace

Annika Jones is the owner of Pashmina Palace, a clothing brand at the Waterfront Market at Ruston. Annika is local designer that “wanted to work with women and make them feel beautiful”.  She has been at the Waterfront Market since the very beginning. After viewing the location for the first time, she knew this is where she wanted her business and loves the community aspect of working at the market. Annika is not only an immigrant, but an orphan as well. Annika mentioned that one trait she feels is most important for female business owners is perseverance and never giving up.


LaDonna Olmstead – Tea Madame

LaDonna is one of our newest female business owners at the Waterfront Market. Her business, Tea Madame is a one stop shop for anything tea related and is HIGHLY rated by her customers. She is one of the local authorities on tea and is a certified tea educator and has a total of three stores. Driven: That’s a word I would use to describe LaDonna. Her vision required her to be 100% in charge, she needed to be in control. It’s her vision, focus and the ability to execute that is making Tea Madame a very sought-after brand name in the tea industry. She only does business here in Peirce County and love the local Tacoma community. She is launching some tea tasting classes here at the market. These educational classes are super popular amongst the tea community.  

Lilly - Sunflower Soul Apothecary

Lilly Laurore – Sunflower Soul Apothecary

“Hi My name is Lily I own and operate Sunflower Soul Apothecary formerly known as Sage Onyx Soapery. I am proud to be an International women of color and women veteran. My business creates natural and artisan style soaps, aromatherapy and provide spiritual wellness items.”

Eco Repurpose Boutique

Norma Irish – Eco Repurpose Boutique

Eco Repurpose Boutique is owned and operated by Norma Irish a U. S. Army Veteran and minority women. Our mission is to find unique products that are eco friendly, cruelty free, made by people that are treated with respect and paid a livable wage. Our motto, “Recycling in a fashionable way!””

If you are woman business owner and looking for a vendor location for your local business, please reach out to us, we would love to see what you have to offer the Waterfront Market at Ruston.