Have you ever wondered what a ceramics artist loves to drink and eat? Here, we catch up with Leah Schaperow, owner of Milk Oolong Studio in Liberty Station. One of her specialties is ornate teapots, which she creates with the intent that they are used regularly at home to elevate the tea-drinking experience. Leah also teaches pottery classes for both kids and adults. Read on to learn about the inspiration behind her studio, her mealtime basics, and where she is shopping in San Diego.

Image: Milk Oolong Studio.

The lovely name of your studio and many of the products you create are related to tea. Please tell us about the inspiration behind this.

Food and drink have a strong history with pottery. I named my pottery studio Milk Oolong Studio because of my favorite Taiwanese tea, milk oolong. The tea tastes almost buttery but contains no milk or other additives. Whenever I cook at home I display the meal in handmade bowls and drink a beverage out of large mugs. Sitting on the sofa and reading a book, I might have a sculpted teapot with a small Chinese-style teacup to sip my favorite tea, usually an oolong.

At the studio, small teacups and sculpted teapots covered in birds and flowers ready to be filled with some delicious tea are displayed on a wall. Drinking tea is an important experience to me because growing up my mother would drink many cups of tea a day. To her, tea is the answer to every question. Tea before bed, tea to relax, tea to hydrate, tea to improve the day.

Image: Milk Oolong Studio.
Image: Milk Oolong Studio.
Image: Milk Oolong Studio.
Image: Milk Oolong Studio.

Do you have a favorite tea spot?

Point Loma Tea in Liberty Station is nice and it's a fun bike ride from downtown San Diego.

Are you enjoying seasonal ingredients or dishes?        

I have been enjoying lots of greens lately. I try to get to the Hillcrest Farmers Market every week to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. Lately, I’ve been grilling broccoli and zucchini with plenty of spices. I look forward to the persimmon season each year.

Image: Milk Oolong Studio.

What's typically in your pantry and what will you make with it?

Flax and chia seeds. I add them to oatmeal, cookies, waffles, and cakes. Agave replaces most sugars for me.

What is an essential cooking tip you like to use for making healthy, easy meals?

Liquid smoke on chickpeas!

Where do you like to shop for food or dine out?      

I try to go to farmers’ markets when I can for groceries. In my opinion, the best local places to dine are Donna Jean, Hazel & Jade Bakery, Red House Pizza, and Pop Pie Co. Many of these restaurants and bakeries make for wonderful picnics at nearby parks such as Marston Gardens, Balboa Park, and Trolley Barn Park.

Would you like to give a shout-out to a favorite local grower(s) or farms?

Golden Coast Mead, J.R. Organics, and Mindful Mushrooms are my usual stops at the markets.

Milk Oolong Studio is located in Arts District Liberty Station

2690 Historic Decatur Rd. #203

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