What’s the tea on The Tea Tree?

By Gloria Gonzalez, Reporter

 

 

On a beautiful Saturday morning in October, I took a stroll to The Tea Tree in Batavia with my friend, Mariana Lopez, who is a senior at West Chicago Community High School. The weather was on the warm side, even though it was the second day of October.

Guests are warmly greeted by the impeccable interior design choices.

Referred to by tea connoisseur and history teacher, Nicholas Caltagirone, Lopez and I decided this place was worth visiting. The Tea Tree is a small family-owned business, owned by the Hartmann family. They offer over 70 fresh teas, 20 olive oils, 20 balsamic vinegars, over 70 fresh spices, and over 40 pure and authentic essential oils. The shop has been open since August of 2016, but prior to opening, the family did a lot of sampling to ensure their products are of the highest quality. Each of the items in the shop come from a small farm, organic farm, local entrepreneur, or small business. 

The Tea Tree blew the expectations I had of it before I even stepped foot in the place. The 120-year-old building has a really homey vibe which makes guests feel very welcomed. We were warmly greeted by the shop owner’s husband. He gave us a quick rundown of how the place worked and offered his help if we needed it. I totally recommend this shop to any tea drinkers who are looking to try new flavors because The Tea Tree has several different incredible blends. Even those who do not consider themselves tea drinkers should totally stop by, and maybe after trying the right blend, they too will consider themselves tea drinkers.

The place had very aesthetic lighting, which really gave customers the comfortable vibe the owners were looking for. The lights were not a bright white, but they also were not an overpowering yellow: instead, they were a really warm in between color. The layout of the building ensured every space could be used for the products they stored, while also not seeming overwhelming. The color palette they chose was more on the neutral side while also incorporating a few splashes of color. The rustic feeling really sells the fact that these products are from small farms, organic farms, local entrepreneurs, and small businesses. 

A few of the many loose leaf tea blends.

As mentioned before, prior to opening their shop, the Hartmann family taste tested several products to ensure their shop had high quality products only. This really goes to show how much they really care about their customers and what they consume, because they could have totally gone the cheap route and made a higher profit that way. I was offered the tea of the day, the cinnamon fig blend. This was probably one of the most luscious cups of tea I have ever had. Starting at $15.50 for a small 2.5 oz tin, this blend really took the best of both worlds and combined the cinnamon flavor with the fig flavor, to create something entirely different, yet very toothsome. The cinnamon flavor was very overpowering, but not to the point that is all you taste. Apart from the tea, they had several spices, vinegars, candles, and essential oils. The candles smelled amazing, the smell was very strong, but again, not overwhelming. It seems all of the products were perfectly balanced, as all things should be. 

Apart from being warmly greeted, the customer service at The Tea Tree is impeccable. The shop owner offered to let us sample any tea we wanted, and then we could either buy the small sample bag and brew it at home, or we could buy the same thing, but have them brew it in the shop. We were taught that each tea needs to be brewed at a specific time and temperature in order to get the most out of it. I was unsure of which tea to try, so I went for the tea of the day, which ended up being free. I was tempted to try a chai blend since I am a big fan of chai lattes, but there were so many I could not just choose one.

The matcha and cinnamon teas we tried on our visit to The Tea Tree.

I am not the only one who thinks The Tea Tree is amazing, coming from the expert himself. “The Tea Tree in Batavia is fantastic for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they have an amazing selection of loose leaf teas, spices, and essential oils. In addition to their wonderful selection they have a very knowledgeable staff,” says Caltagirone. “I also really like the idea of supporting small businesses, they’re local business owners, not some big corporate conglomeration, they’re people who live in the community, and I’m all for supporting that,” he added.

Being a matcha fanatic, I asked Lopez what her thoughts were on The Tea Tree’s matcha, and she said, “The Tea from the Tea Tree was rich, the flavor of matcha was that of the highest quality, and was the best tea I’ve ever had.”

Anyone looking to try new tea blends should totally check out The Tea Tree in Batavia: the homey vibe of their building, their ethically sourced high quality products, and their customer service, are really the cherry on top.

If you or a friend are ever looking for a place to spill some tea, head over to The Tea Tree.

WHAT KIND OF TEA DO YOU USUALLY DRINK?

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