For long time friends Sarah Quinto, Heidi Bondoc, and Heinz Tagalicud, putting up a business together may have came out of an impulse – like a light bulb just popped out somewhere near Heinz’s head. But nothing huge ever comes easy. It took a lot of patience and careful handling of things, just like in brewing tea.
Brewing the business idea
It was in November 2011, during Heinz’s birthday celebration, that the three thought of establishing a business. Sarah, 25, is a coffee person. Heidi, 27, is a tea lover. Heinz, 25, is neither of the two.
But because at that time, there is no existing tea house in the city just yet, they decided to put up one. Heidi probably has got the best cheering squad. Haha.
Just like any other business endeavours, there were obstacles along the way, specifically in scouting for the best suppliers they can get which offer favorable rates.
Searching for the best area that will cradle their tea house added a bit of concern. They first planned to have it near De La Salle Lipa since students make up a huge percentage of their target market. But the vicinity seemed too condensed.
Until they found available spaces in Hotel Cara along Ayala Hi-way, Lipa City; thinking that the hotel’s rooftop was perfect to be transformed into a tea house. The concept was ideal but the owner of the building declined to grant them of the spot so the three leased a space on the third floor instead.
Tea and I
Sarah took charge of the paper works and anything that has something to do with the formality of the business. Heidi, on the other hand, was in charge of the core of the biz – the tea menu. She researched and experimented on various tea blends and had everyone sipping tea for two weeks straight. Heinz, being the mastermind, handled other tasks that Sarah and Heidi are not managing.
In between the last week of March towards the dawn of April 2012, Tea and I finally opens.
Five Interesting Things about Tea and I
1. They have the Sweetness Meter in which you can choose the level of sweetness you want your drink to have.
2. You can actually request for your desired flavor which they can make on the spot!
3. Tea and I is the only tea house in Lipa City that has Ceylon, Jasmine, Assam, Earl Grey, and Oolong. Competitors only have Assam (as far as they know).
4. Tea and I is not a franchise and everything – the name, the logo, the tea blends – is proudly their own.
5. You can have a small celebration over at Tea and I and ask Sarah to cook for you (only if she has time, haha).
Tea and I recommends these blends for the following:
kids – Honey Lemon or Caramel
the oldies – Fruit Tea
looking for a drink that’s naturally sweet – Wintermelon
something refreshing – Honey Lemon
best to be paired with pastries – Fruit Tea
best while eating something flavourful – Milk Tea
if you’re diabetic – don’t worry, they have Splenda
Their best sellers are the Wintermelon and the weird-sounding and tongue-crazy Cocoa Rock Salt and Cheese. We weren’t able to try the latter during our visit as it was sold out at that time. If you are to try that, one important tip: don’t mix everything. Order one at Tea and I and you’ll know why.
Climbing the stairs up to the third floor is all worth it once you smell the inviting scent of tea upon entering Tea and I. It’s quite a small place, with customized furniture, but I don’t think it will appear congested even if all the seats were occupied.
Although Tea and I is yet to have its grand opening on May 27th, they already have regular customers from students, to yuppies, to Sarah’s foreigner bosses and officemates. That’s something exciting for a business that’s only about two-month old!
When asked what else they want to achieve for Tea and I, Heinz shared: “Mag-earn ng marami pang good reviews. [Pero] open kami sa mga negative feedbacks. And yun, kung may maisip silang flavors na gusto nila, pwede nilang sabihin at gagawin namin on the spot.”
This clever offer justifies the moniker of their business, Tea and I. With no gaudiness, no complications.
Tea and I is a new place we recommend you visit. If you think tea drinking is only meant for the health-conscious ones and that tea is leafy and boring, then you should really go to Tea and I to debunk your thoughts. Wink.
Tea and I is open from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and until 12mn on weekends. If you live or work near the area and any of the three is available, they can deliver your drinks, just call (0926)7976122. Or visit them at the 3rd floor of Zen’s Building (Hotel Cara), Ayala Hi-Way, Lipa City, Batangas (in front of Central BBQ Boy Grill).
Want a sweet treat? Be at Tea and I’s Grand Opening on May 27th, Sunday, as they offer free upsize on the day!