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Northeast Batesville
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Northeast Food 0

The Tea Crate in Batesville

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Summer is starting to heat up, and it’s the perfect time to cool off with a glass of refreshing iced tea. The Tea Crate in Batesville elevates freshly brewed tea to a higher place in a coffee-driven world, and it’s the perfect place to celebrate National Iced Tea Month.

Nathan and Shaelyn Ellyson, owners of The Tea Crate, came by their love of tea naturally. Shaelyn was raised on tea and can’t recall coffee ever being served in her childhood home. Her mother started every morning with a cup of hot tea, a tradition Ellyson continued into adulthood, along with regular pitchers of southern-style sweet tea served with dinner.

When they moved to Batesville from New Mexico in 2014, Nathan Ellyson was shocked to discover that there weren’t sweet tea stands on every corner. Sure, sweet tea was available in every restaurant and drive-thru, but Ellyson often found the tea overly sweet and lacking in flavor. Fast food sweet tea wasn’t cutting it. And Arkansas didn’t turn out to be quite the “land of sweet tea” he thought it would. He’d imagined shops entirely devoted to sweet tea on every corner, and a business plan was born with that realization. The Ellysons wanted to open a tea shop.

Photo courtesy of The Tea Crate.

A few years down the road, still dreaming of a tea shop, the Ellysons sat around their kitchen table as leaders of a young adult group at their church. Some of the group members weren’t sure college was the right path and were struggling with making the decision to do something else, something perhaps a little riskier. The Ellysons realized they needed to step away from the dining room table and make their dream become a reality. They were in a position to serve as a shining example of reaching for your dreams while also creating jobs for teens and young adults in the community.

According to Shaelyn, she and Nathan are “the furthest thing from proper and not at all into high tea and cucumber sandwiches.” Their business would be about serving high-quality tea in a customer-focused environment without traditional tearoom formalities.

The Tea Crate in Batesville

When you visit The Tea Crate, be prepared to experience iced tea like never before. Choose traditional iced tea or experiment with one of their flavored selections. The teas are naturally flavored with herbs, spices, flowers and dried fruits and developed through their small-batch brewing process. No pumps of sugary syrups are needed! Their seven-step filtration process ensures that their water is the cleanest water you can find and perfectly balanced on the PH scale for optimal flavor development during the brewing process.

All of the tea is available unsweetened or sweetened with real sugar. The tea is sweet, though not overly sweet. You can kick it up a notch by requesting your tea “Memphis Sweet” or adding maple syrup or monk fruit for something more natural. The Coconut Black Tea is hands-down the most popular tea on their menu. Amazing Grey follows close behind with its slight citrus flavor and naturally sweet taste that appeals to many.

The Tea Crate in Batesville

Photo courtesy of The Tea Crate.

When The Tea Crate first opened its doors in January 2020, iced teas were the only thing on the menu. But as all good businesses must do, they have grown and adapted to meet the needs of their customers. Over the last two years, they added loose-leaf hot teas that are hand bagged and brewed to order, specialty tea concoctions, lemonade, handcrafted sodas and a few traditional coffee-shop offerings. There is something for everyone in the family at The Tea Crate.

Customers can also grab tea by the gallon or pick up loose leaf teas to brew at home. If you don’t live close by (or even if you do), you can order tea and brewing accessories from their online store or participate in their seasonal Tea Crate club. Every three months, you’ll get a box that includes several tea varieties and several brewing accessories and other goodies. And the seasonal crate doesn’t just have a sample – you get enough tea to brew 90 cups of tea. That’s one per day until the next quarterly box arrives at your doorstep.

The Tea Crate in Batesville

Photo courtesy of The Tea Crate.

Southerners love their sweet tea, but it’s a point of confusion with most of the rest of the world. I grew up in a part of the country where tea was always fresh brewed but never sweet. If one were to ask for sweet tea, one would be handed an assortment of sugar and artificial sweetener packets. Sweet tea is something I’ve warmed up to, but I still don’t like it too sweet. That’s why I was excited to find The Tea Crate. If you aren’t sure what to order, one of the friendly staff members will help you make the perfect selection. Grab your cup and pull up a chair on their rooftop deck. You can let your worries float away in the breeze while you sip on the best iced tea around. It’s proper tea for the not-so prim and proper!

The Tea Crate
614 S. Saint Louis Street, Batesville

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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