The Cultured Cup Tasting Room; picture courtesy of Kyle Stewart

The Cultured Cup offers metropolitan Dallas with an enriching tea expertise, each for the palate and the thoughts. The tea and occasional store not too long ago relocated to a new house in Farmers Branch, Texas, north of Dallas, the place it can proceed to encourage individuals to “taste the adventure.”

The Cultured Cup’s story started in 1995 when Kyle Stewart and Phil Krampetz opened a espresso store known as the Coffee Mill. Both selected to depart careers in different fields to be entrepreneurs. Stewart had taught voice on the faculty stage and labored as a proposal author within the laptop industry. Krampetz’s background was in mechanical engineering and industrial administration.

After the primary yr they modified the store’s title to the Cultured Cup as a result of they needed so as to add tea to their repertoire. “We thought tea was a really important product that was being really overlooked,” Stewart mentioned. “There was hardly any tea in Dallas at that point.”

The Cultured Cup; picture courtesy of Kyle Stewart

To get inspiration for easy methods to current and promote tea, they traveled to Europe, the place tea had a a lot stronger and extra developed presence. First, they scoped out tea outlets in London. Then, on a buddy’s advice, they made a aspect journey to Paris, France to go to Mariage Freres, a famend tea retailer based in 1854. “When I walked in that store, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the Cultured Cup,” Stewart mentioned, “The store embraced the world of tea.” The store is organized into sections representing completely different international locations, comparable to Japan and Morocco. Stewart and Krampetz determined to make their store characterize all cultures of tea.

They started shopping for tea from Mariage Freres and now supply tea globally from many specialised tea purveyors. Though the Cultured Cup started as a espresso enterprise, at the moment greater than 65 % of gross sales are from tea.

Krampetz’s focus is on espresso and Stewart, who’s a Certified Tea Specialist and a Specialty Tea Institute Mentor and Advisory Board Member, focuses on tea.

Like the previous location, solely two blocks away, the brand new location has a tasting room, which has develop into the driving power of the enterprise. Stewart educates clients about teas via the expertise. “It’s more about trying to understand the world, so it’s not only about the beverage, it’s also about the ritual,” Stewart mentioned, who feels Dallas is a place that wants occasions that convey individuals collectively. As with the final location, the place the recognition of the tasting room grew considerably from phrase of mouth, Stewart expects the present tasting room to proceed to be a draw.

A unique tea is obtainable each weekend on the free open tastings. Scheduled tastings happen through the week. Tastings introduce one simply learnable idea, after which Stewart builds on the idea from week to week. Examples embrace periods on the variations in look, aroma and taste between Darjeeling and Assam teas; and easy methods to determine the traits of a first flush, versus a second flush tea.

The teas are poured into double-wall glass cups in order that clients can study the colour of the tea as they maintain the cups as much as the sunshine. “We create this kind of sensual experience with tea,” Stewart mentioned, including that these tastings have promoted the enterprise like nothing else. “I think it’s so important for a business to have a focus.”

He plans to introduce a extra structured curriculum and develop the tea tasting journey to on-line clients. “When you put all of these [educational offerings] together, people understand tea in a more complete way,” Stewart mentioned. The tasting expertise “is what propelled wine forward and it’s what I believe can propel tea forward,” he mentioned.

Stewart believes that a extra rigorous tea training program and extra requirements will assist clients develop larger respect for individuals within the tea industry.

“I’m really excited about educating Dallas about what tea is, and now we have a place where we’re able to do that.” mentioned Stewart.

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