Round tins of fresh teas line the walls of Tebella Tea Company. Once opened, the tins release aromatic scents that whisk you away to a place where time goes by a little slower. Their sweet and savory scents help you take a moment to savor the afternoon. Such a romantic idea comes to life here on Davis Islands at Tebella.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet and interview the owner of Tebella, Abigail StClaire. We were able to sit, chat, and have tea in the library of her wonderful home. Tea time with Abigail is quite the experience. The second I stepped into her tea equipped kitchen, I could tell Abigail loves tea. From the glass gadgets used to steep the tea, to the beautiful tea set used to serve it, Abigail hits it out of the park with her tea time rituals.
Abigail was born and raised in Richmond Virginia and her passion for tea started as a young girl. She moved to Tampa to be closer to her retired father. It was a great move because she was able to meet her husband Dean while eating dinner at Ulele.
Along with her love for tea, her move to Tampa enabled her to become the first business owner in her family. Her family was very supportive. Her father told her, “if anyone could do you can.”
Abigail’s tea business has brought her around the world to places with a robust tea culture such as China, India, and Sri Lanka. If she could go anywhere tomorrow she said that “I would go to Ireland to experience the tea culture there.”
Abigail’s favorite parts of her business is working with every aspect of the tea as well as the travel that is associated with it. She also says that, “I love my staff and feel like I have the worlds greatest team with such unique talents and strengths.” This year Abigail is sending two of her employees to China for a tea culture fair.
Scent of A Tea Leaf
One of the most interesting parts of my interview with Abigail was she explained how flavoring and tea scenting works. One of the coolest parts of tea bells is that they make their own tea flavors and scents. When flavoring teas they will add essential oils, botanicals, spices and herbs. This adds the flavor to the tea.
When teas are scented, like with Jasmine tea, an ingredient is added to the tea until it is absorbed. Then the ingredient is taken away. Such is the difference between tea flavoring and tea scenting.
Not only is Tebella a great business but they are also giving back. Tebella has a tea bar for Senia charity which is owned by the Zach Brown band. This charity funds the southern ground camp. They focus on children who may not be able to afford camp, making the camp all inclusive. Tebella takes no profit from the tea bar and donates tea to the program.
In the future Abigail hopes to expand her business by opening more locations.
Make sure you check this place out, it is worth the visit. If you are looking for recommendations my three personal top teas are the coconut white tea, wicked cream, and kiwi cherry.
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