Two years ago I visited Austin, Texas for a work conference. Because I worked at a locally owned co-op, my work conferences are usually more fun than most. When you work in marketing, one of the most important resources is as simple as shopping. Finding inspiration in what other businesses create is a well developed tool. You can get inspiration from even the smallest shop. A simple logo can inspire an entire display.
“Keep Austin Weird” is one of the most recognizable slogans, and so at our conference we were charged with visiting locally owned shops and discovering what it is that keeps them “weird”.
My favorite shop that we visited was The Tea Embassy. It’s a sweet little shop in an unassuming historic home. Each room in the house is filled with gorgeous “wants” which ultimately become “needs”. Brightly colored ceramic tea pots and recycled glass mugs. Silver tins brimming with fresh teas and delicate linen napkins.
In the largest room there is a long granite counter top with a row small white tea pots steeping samples. In front of each tea pot is a small ramekin sprinkled with the tea leaves for you to smell. Much like wine, when you inhale the smell of tea leaves before taking a sip, the flavor is enhanced.
I was in this shop for over an hour. I learned how to properly brew a cup of tea and the obvious beauty of unprocessed tea. And I fell in love with a blend of black tea from Ceylon, Southern India, and China aptly named Snow Flake. The tea leaves are blended with almond flakes, cinnamon, and coconut flakes. It is a light, amber colored tea with a sweet start and a smooth finish. Bitterness is nowhere to be found and sugar or honey is not needed.
I left the Tea Embassy with a small black pouch of Snow Flake tea and a silver mesh tea infuser. It took a great deal of willpower not to buy every gem toned tea pot in the shop.
I steep each infuser multiple times and savor each cup. Two years later I have about 1/4 of a bag left. :)
Since this is my birthday weekend, I decided to treat myself to a warm cup this morning. It’s even better than a latte!
I hope that everyone has a great weekend! We’re having a kickball cookout for my birthday tomorrow. I can’t wait!! :)