Omaha, Nebraska-based teahouse The Tea Smith created an “After 5 Menu.”
“We want tea to be fun and accessible for people … Being able to have fun and creative drinks introduces people to tea,” said Tim Smith, The Tea Smith’s owner.
“People who have tea kind of cubby-holed based on limited experience,” he said. So he’s striving to attract new customers with a fun place to gather and consume some signature tea concoctions that offer an introduction to the many varieties of tea.
The Tea Smith’s staff markets the new happy hour menu as another option for people who do not want to go to a bar or restaurant but still want to enjoy their evening out. People can relax and partake in creative drinks and small bites. Smith and his staff devoted time to developing the recipes and then did some trial runs with friendly customers and a couple of soft openings.
One of The Tea Smith’s proud creations is its tea affogato, which is vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of hot tea. A couple affogatos are the matcha affogato with a drizzle of honey and the chai affogato with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The Tea Smith uses local Ted & Wally’s ice cream.
The Tea Smith also offers alcohol-free tea mocktails.
“We went through and chose cocktails that people would be familiar with and then developed recipes around them that would emulate the cocktails that they’re named after,” Smith said. “We also use the proper service glass for those.”
The jasmine tea mojito contains jasmine green tea, sugar and mint. Another mocktail is the gunpowder margarita, which has Chinese Pinhead gunpowder green tea, sugar and lime. The blended mocktails include a Pina Colada (jasmine green tea, pineapple, coconut and ice) and the Matcha Frappe (Japanese matcha, dairy or non-dairy milk and whipped cream).
Matcha buttercups and Biscotti Bites are among the teahouse’s Small Bites menu items.
Smith’s advice for other tea retailers who may consider forming a similar menu is that it should fit the theme of their tea house. Smith describes The Tea Smith’s motif as “comfortable contemporary.” Smith and his staff also value customer feedback.
“I think it’s really important, as we’re creating a market for orthodox teas in the United States, to keep it approachable, fun and educational,” Smith said.