This New Business Is Just Her Cup of Tea

May 6, 2017
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Kathleen Edinger opens her new tea room and shop, TeaScapes, on First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands’ commercial

By John Burton |

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – While Kathleen Edinger will offer a variety of her customized blended teas, a visit to her TeaScapes tearoom won’t be just about the beverage.

“It’s about enjoying the moment,” Edinger says. She wants her new space and business to be a place for people to take a break from the chaos of the day.

TeaScapes, 68 First Ave., will offer customers the choice of Edinger’s blends in china cups and saucers in an unclut- tered 1,400-square-foot space and relaxing environment, with walls adorned with art and tea accessories available for purchase.

“I like to think it’ll be an experience,” Edinger said.

Edinger, who lives with her family in Middletown’s Belford section, had just retired from a career as a physical therapist. “After 24 years I needed a break,” she said.

She had started to develop an appreciation for tea about three years earlier when her husband, Jim, gave her a pot and flowering tea, made from flowers and dried tea leaves, which unfurls and “blooms” when steeped in hot water, providing a lovely image as well as taste.

And when other efforts she was considering for her retirement weren’t really resonating, Edinger began to consider teas as a possible alternative.

That led Edinger to find out more about the industry. Reading a trade magazine, she learned about Elmwood Inn Fine Teas in Kentucky. Edinger visited and took mater classes to learn the intricacies of the blending. “I took advantage of that experience,” she said. And from that experience, “I rediscovered a love of tea.”

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TeaScapes, which will have its grand opening on Saturday, April 29, will feature Edinger’s six signature blends, which she said “can be enjoyed hot or cold.”

They include her Beach Memories, which blends green tea, marigold, cornflower, blue marrow, dried apple, straw- berries, hibiscus, kiwi, rose petals, orange peel and natural flavors. And there is Spring Break, made from black tea, papaya, apricot, apple, strawberries, hibiscus, Kiwi, orange peel, blackberry leaves, calendula, sunflower, rose petals and natural flavors. Another is Exotic Grey, which mixes black and green teas, lavender and cornflower petals, Jasmine blossoms and natural flavors.

Edinger plans on having a line of teas from around the world, from India, South Africa, and elsewhere that, like her signature blends, are available for home brewing. There will also be a line of accessories, such as teapots, books, and the like, available to purchase.

She’ll have a variety of baked treats in the near future. And given some of her family members are gluten sensi- tive, the food items will be gluten-free, but tasty, she assured.

Her shop, “a peaceful, Zen-ful space,” will have regular tea parties and Edinger will offer classes on tea. The space would seem to work for networking get-togethers, as well as for bridal showers and engagement parties. She noted a couple of friends are working on books and the tea room would serve as the perfect locale for book signing parties in the future. “I think it’ll be a little bit of something for everybody,” she anticipated.

In the future, Edinger envisions possibly wholesaling her blends; certainly, participating in the Atlantic Highlands farmer’s market this spring and summer, possibly other locations and festivals during the busy summer months; and maybe having her own truck at some point to sell the tea at locations.

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Edinger thinks about her exciting endeavor and decides to give herself a little of the advice she would offer to her customers who come in after a hectic day. “I’m striving to enjoy the moment,” she said.

This article was first published in the April 27-May 4, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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