A trend a-brewin’ at Fava Tea Company

Jamie Gajewski

One cloudy Appleton afternoon, Paul Jackson suggested that we visit a new tea shop called Fava Tea Company. I’d seen an enticing billboard for the tea lover’s paradise a week before and so I agreed to step into Paul’s trusty Ford Taurus and cruise down College Avenue in the name of tea. We passed the billboard on our way, squinting and scanning for an address. Between Paul’s glasses, my contacts, and the speedy Ford, we managed to make out Trasino Landing and Casaloma Drive.
After taking a right off of College and onto Casaloma, we continued for quite some time, desperately searching for the shop. Finally, past a ubiquitous thicket of fir trees, we caught sight of Fava Tea Company. Paul and I traipsed inside and were instantly greeted by friendly employees who prescribed the perfect tea by asking us about our tea drinking habits. I ended up sipping on the shop’s number one seller, while Paul enjoyed a flavored white tea.
As our tea brewed, Paul and I learned about how brewing time affects tea’s taste. We relaxed at one of Fava’s tables, and watched an interesting cast of characters come in the door. One man declared that he drinks eight quarts of tea a day and asked about how to get the best taste out of iced tea. Then, a woman bustled in the door, slammed her tea canister on the counter, and demanded it be filled with her usual tea.
Tea enthusiasts of all preferences and budgets can find their niche at Fava Tea Company located at 1656 North Casaloma Drive in Grand Chute. Melissa Stafford and her husband opened the tea room and shop December 15, 2007. Everything about Fava is independent, from the interior’s décor, to the selection of tea suppliers, to the shop’s tranquil logo.
Fava’s top three best selling teas are Lemon Chiffon, Masala Chai and Tangerine Ginger Herbal. Teas range from 1.50 to 25 dollars an ounce, satisfying the Rooibos drinking vagabond, the infusion craving self-made millionaire and everyone in between.
What is Stafford’s favorite tea? “It depends on the day. Today it’s Coconut Black, iced.”
While Stafford’s tea preferences are ever-changing, Fava’s success has continued to brew since its opening. Despite friends’ clichéd snickers of “don’t quit your day job,” Stafford left her corporate job on April 1, 2008. It wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke.
For a little over five months, Fava Tea Company has been graced by regulars and curious Lawrence students alike. As Stafford said, Fava Tea Company is “all about personal preferences.” While some regulars flock to their favorite traditional green tea like the woman we encountered during our visit, others are all-around tea drinkers and like to try a new teas each visit.
According to Stafford, the health benefits of tea are “endless.” Herbal teas are great for general health since many are packed with antioxidants and flavanoids. Rooibos boosts the immune system and, like herbal teas, is bursting with antioxidants. Oolong is used for weight loss, since drinking a cup after a fatty meal changes the rate of the absorption of certain fatty substances. Black tea helps lower cholesterol and is useful in drinkers with heart disease because it keeps blood platelets from sticking. Stafford mentioned that another benefit is the way the caffeine found in black tea is processed by the body. It is processed differently than the caffeine in coffee and thus, a black tea drinker will not experience the classic mid-afternoon coffee crash.
Fava’s teas are grown in a variety of faraway lands including China, India, Russia, Taiwan, Japan and Sri Lanka. Fava gets the teas from three main distributors: Rishi and Alterra in Milwaukee and Adagio in New Jersey. Fava also currently stocks teas from nine private blenders and Stafford is constantly searching for new teas.
Although the shop’s walls are lined with canisters of tea, other tea accoutrements are available in store. Fava sells teapots, teacups, brewing hardware, tea candy, filters and tea mints. Prices range from affordable 4.99 dollar tea balls to extravagant 100 dollar brewers.
Fava Tea Company owner Melissa Stafford knows and loves that tea drinkers have individual needs and quirks when it comes to their favorite drink. Whether your cup of tea is green, black, iced or herbal, you’ll find everything you need to make it at Fava Tea Company.