If you've enjoyed Elevation Tea Company's trailer at the Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch Farmer's markets, you'll be happy to know it's expanding to a physical location in downtown Sarasota's McAnsh Square this Saturday, May 14.
Owner Jennifer Martinez says she hopes to make everyone feel welcome with lots of colors and of course, fun new menu items.
"We have expanded to coffee, so that'll be a new item at the shop," says Martinez. "We've installed cold brew taps and use the same blending technique that we use on our tea. It's a high-quality brand where you can really taste the unique flavor profile."
In addition, the shop is brewing nitrogen infused drinks, one of which is a non-alcoholic beer, made out of tea and home-brewed hops. Unlike other nonalcoholic beer, this will not be carbonated and made with nitrogen.
"We are taking two different styles of beer, Hefeweizen and Stout, and mimicking those flavors with tea instead of using barley and wheat," Martinez explains.
And on a hot summer day, stop in for one of Elevation's tea floats. Like a classic root beer float, these drinks will include locally made ice cream topped with a tea of your choice. Our rec: the Berry Happy float, with black raspberry ice cream with blueberry bliss tea and raspberry syrup. Before premiering these drinks, Martinez had a few loyal customers stop in for a taste test.
"Everyone was crazy about the floats," says Martinez. "This is something really unique to the area and the tea world."
The shop, which will be grab-and-go style, will also sell its signature menu items and loose leaf tea by the ounce, like you would find in a traditional tea shop. This is something Martinez said the trailer could not accommodate because tea is so sensitive to heat.
"We didn't want to compromise the quality by storing it in the trailer," she says.
People have already stopped by the shop to take photos of the vibrant mural on the wall by local talent Brandon Thrift. Martinez says bringing him in to paint was the first step in setting the tone of the shop.
"Everything in here is really an inspiration from the artwork he did, from the products matching the colors of the wall, to our snacks—chocolates and French macarons—having those pops of color, too," says Martinez. "I'm happy to see our shop will be spreading the same love and positivity that Brandon's work does."
If tea is not your thing, you can still stop in for ice cream. A local ice cream company supplied Elevation with its own flavor: a vanilla base mixed with the same bergamot oil Martinez uses to make its Earl Grey tea, mixed with gluten-free vanilla cookies.
The shop's grand opening is on Saturday, May 14, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first 20 customers will get a free macaron. The trailer will also be out at the market the same day. Martinez says she will continue to run the trailers because they are a great way to get out into the community and spread the word about their new location.
"Ultimately, we also want this to be a safe place for everyone to visit, including members of the LGBTQ+ community," says Martinez. "We are lesbian-owned, and want people to feel welcome and not worry about being judged. Just come in for great tea and leave feeling happier."
Elevation Tea Company is located at 1383 McAnsh Square, Sarasota. For more information, menu items and store hours, click here.