By Catherine Hathaway, College Times
Locally owned and operated tea shop Teaspressa is continuing its success with its third new café in two years.
Owner and founder Allison DeVane opened the downtown Phoenix location in August and is already planning various new offerings alongside her patented tea technology.
DeVane, a longtime coffee drinker, came up with the idea in January 2015. She knew she wanted to start a business but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
“I was brainstorming a lot of ideas and I couldn’t come up with an idea,” DeVane says. “My dad was like, ‘If you were to get paid a million dollars doing anything, what would it be?’ and I was like, ‘Make coffee, duh.’”
The Phoenix-based business owner was passionate about coffee, but she disliked the negative side effects, including headaches and caffeine crashes. She decided to find a solution to her problem.
“I didn’t want to open another coffee shop,” DeVane says. “There are so many great ones out here already. So I thought maybe I should just focus on the tea, and I started experimenting with that.”
DeVane developed a patented production process to deliver a concentrated tea shot, much like espresso, that features all the caffeine of coffee with the natural health benefits of tea. Her favorite is Black Rose, half-sweetened and hot.
“The tea caffeine lasts longer than espresso, so it’s actually a smooth ride instead of a pick-me-up and a crash,” DeVane says.
Business picked up quickly, with the first store opening in March 2018 in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood. Her second came in June 2018, when a friend from DeVane’s time at Arizona State University came to her with an opportunity to open a Teaspressa in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“It was an opportunity that presented itself,” DeVane says of the Michigan location. “When I went out to look at the space, it just felt right.”
Opened in August, the new downtown Phoenix location is the largest, with a spacious 1,500-square-foot café. The storefront is across from Portland Parkway Park and neighbors a free parking garage.
“It’s going to be innovative, modern, but approachable,” DeVane says about the new location. “Apple meets Anthropologie.”
In addition to selling all the offerings of the other Teaspressa stores, the downtown Phoenix location has a larger seating area, an enhanced food selection and a grab-and-go food case, and DeVane is in the process of putting together a beer and wine selection.
“It’s really neat to be a part of changing a place (downtown Phoenix) where you can be all the time,” DeVane says. “You can come out on the weekend and have a drink and hang out.”
The aesthetic of the store speaks to the mellow environment DeVane envisioned. Plants line the walls, the seating is clean and modern, and a neon “C’est La Tea” sign hangs above artistic chairs for the perfect photo op. DeVane loves to travel and infuses that passion into the design of her Instagram-worthy stores.
“I did them all myself,” DeVane says. “The inspiration is from international travel. This one, for example, is going to have outdoor seating, which is like a Parisian café where it’s outside and seating faces outside to lookout. It’s a lot of classic and modern.”
DeVane’s products are already in Teaspressa stores in two states as well as retailers such as Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus, but she says she would love to continue expanding Teaspressa to other states.
“We do brick and mortar, online sales and licensing, so if other cafés want to sell our product we’ll license it, and then we do (business to business) and wholesales,” DeVane says.
DeVane insists that the new downtown Phoenix location is a great platform for more growth.
“There’s going to be a lot more programming here in downtown Phoenix, so stay tuned on that,” she says. “Every single store that we have is always somehow really involved in the community. I think we have a lot of potential here.”
For tea drinkers who cannot make it to the store, the four signature tea blends are available online at teaspressa.com.