The idea of Teaspressa is well-known to fans of the popular capital-raising TV show Shark Tank. Owner Alison Devane pitched her innovative tea products to the “sharks” just one year after starting her business on a bicycle cart and handing out samples in downtown Phoenix.
“It was surreal just seeing and physically just being on the set of a show I adored. I feel it really didn’t hit me until I walked down that hall and saw all the ‘sharks’ in front of me, in real life,” Devane said. “I felt a buzz of excitement go through my body and I honestly felt like I just blacked out from the experience/excitement of actually being there.”
Although Devane didn’t get a deal from the “sharks” that day, her inventive conception of tea still made quite an impression on viewers and online sales took off.
Last spring, two years after her rejection episode aired on ABC, Devane opened the first standalone, brick and mortar Teaspressa location directly across the street from Arcadia High School, on the north side of Indian School between 44th and 48th St. The Arcadia neighborhood has taken notice.
Devane chose Arcadia as the site of the first standalone store because of its natural beauty and strong sense of community – and she feels she made the right choice.
“Phoenix is so big and Alison and I really love the community of Arcadia,” Manager Jessica Nauman said.
The central idea of Teaspressa is to combine the bold, full body of coffee with the delicate flavors and health benefits of tea.
Together, they create what Teaspressa calls “coffee-inspired tea.” Super concentrated and specially prepared, the tea is designed to be brewed with methods typically reserved for coffee. All of the teas are available as lattes, cappuccinos, americanos, and macchiatos.
In order to produce these novel drinks, Teaspressa collaborated with the manufacturer of its espresso makers to create a one-of-a-kind machine capable of producing the required tea “shots.”
“We don’t have a name for it, we just call it the Teaspressa Tea Shot machine. What is different about the method that we use is that it is ‘patent pending’ and it makes the concentrated tea shots that we use for our drinks,” Devane said.
Teaspressa sources its ingredients from places all around the world, creating concoctions for coffee and tea drinkers alike. The London Fog latte is a blend of lavender, vanilla, and bold black tea (add a shot of espresso for an extra kick). The Caramel Cape is a warm decaffeinated drink built around concentrated shots of South African red tea. The most distinct Teaspressa beverage is the iced Black Rose latte. This drink comes separated into rose red, white, and rich black elements and is topped with real, edible roses.
At Teaspressa, unsweetened “elixirs” are used in the place of syrup. The drinks are then lightly sweetened with natural sugar cubes in a way that allows all the natural flavors of the teas and elixirs to stand out. The Arcadia shop also offers small bites such as White Bean Toast or Tomato Jam + Burrata.
Teaspressa hosts a “Sip n’ Shop” event the first Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where it welcomes local businesses to set up stands in the store’s “backyard” area for customers to peruse as they sip their tea.
“They have been so welcoming and supportive to our brand,” Nauman said. “We constantly say how much we love our customers. Especially for being our first real location, Arcadia has continually showed us so much love, so I strive to reciprocate that love with events tailored to the community.”
Devane opened a second Teaspressa location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is planning a third location in downtown Phoenix which will be opening sometime in March. The new location will have an expanded food menu with the help of Chef Lauren Smith.
“Perhaps some would say that I wasn’t ready to be on Shark Tank, but the thing is, we’re never ready for anything in business and I’m so incredibly grateful to have had the chance of actually being aired on the show. It is a rarity and we still see the benefits of it to this day,” Devane said.
For more: teaspressa.com.