It's tea time in Jamaica Plain -- cold-brew tea, to be exact.
"Jamaica Plain is a really special community," said Evy Chen, founder of EvyTea, on a recent weekend as she overlooked a patio garden filled with families sipping tea and eating lunch amid the herbs outside her business' new Amory Street warehouse. "I never felt so much of a neighborhood feel as in JP."
In Chen's native China, "we drink tea every day -- it's like milk in the U.S.," she said. When she first tried cold-brewed tea, she was "blown away" by its smoothness, natural sweetness and lack of bitterness, all with one-third the caffeine of hot-brewed teas.
Chen, who graduated from Emerson College in 2010 and participated in the school's Experience in Entrepreneurship program. She founded EvyTea in 2012, and has been making and distributing ready-to-drink cold-brew bottled teas for two years. Her teas are now sold in Whole Foods all over the Northeast.
As EvyTea expanded, "we outgrew our facility in South Boston and were looking for a new space," Chen said. She settled on an 1,100-square-foot warehouse on Amory Street in Jamaica Plain. There, she established a brewery/R&D space in the basement, and just after Memorial Day opened a ground-floor "tea bar" with seating and a 450-square-foot herb garden.
The tea bar offers many cold-brew drinks on tap, including a vibrant array of teas lined up on the counter: hibiscus with pineapple and lemon, oolong with lychee and lemongrass, and black tea with strawberry and basil, among others. It takes at least 16 hours to cold-brew her teas, which are infused with honey and fruit, rather than sugar.
There is also cold-brew coffee, tea lattes like the enticing matcha turmeric latte, sparkling tea drinks and more. For the indecisive, Chen offers tea flights that allow a drinker to sample several brews. There are also loose-leaf teas available, including some you might not see at your typical supermarket.
The tea bar serves baked goods, including alfajores (Peruvian caramel sandwich cookies) and colorful French macarons, sourced from a small East Boston bakery. In the herb garden, Della's is currently serving lunch Thursdays through Sundays.
"I want it to be a community space where people could host events," Chen explained. She herself plans to regularly host events and workshops, and hopes JP residents will support EvyTea not just with their dollars, but with their spirit. "There's a special energy in JP," she said.
The Tea Bar at EvyTea is located at 253 Amory St. and open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chen is currently offering 10 percent off to Jamaica Plain News readers who bring in the coupon below.