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A Love Story That Culminates In Teatime

Guerby and Shannon Joseph, a dynamic husband-and-wife duo, met and fell in love in New York City, the “city that never sleeps.” After dating for some time before getting married, Shannon discovered some health struggles and searched for a naturopathic doctor to help her. That’s when tea came to the rescue.“She [the doctor] told me to stop drinking coffee cold turkey and gave me specific teas to drink based on my health challenges,” Shannon notes. “I grew up drinking teas when I was sick but never consumed them on a daily basis. We went looking for these teas because they didn’t sell them at the grocery store.”

The couple researched and found a loose-leaf tea bar Manhattan and decided to give it a try. “We made it a date, got a pot of tea, and bought some to take home,”Shannon recalls. “We had really wonderful conversations over pots of tea. We’d been dating and going out to dinners, but there’s something special that happens when people share a pot of tea.” This lovely encounter with the beloved beverage led to much pondering about the benefits that the elixir could bring not only to their lives but to others as well. Guerby began to take classes on herbs and the advantages of drinking tea while brainstorming the possibility of opening a tea business. Originally, the energetic pair dreamed of starting out with a brick-and-mortar location; however, COVID-19 had other plans and delayed their vision. In July 2020, Joseph’s Tea launched as an online retailer, selling 20 of their own tea blends.

Following a move from New York City to Spring hill, Florida, Guerby and Shannon set up shop at local farmers’ markets and quickly gained popularity among attendees. People fawned over their Anti-Inflammatory Blend, one of their bestsellers, and would return week after week with encouraging testimonies about the tea’s medicinal properties. The blend is a delightful assembly of ginger, turmeric, clove, and cinnamon and helps with inflammation, tendonitis, and arthritis. At this point, the couple began to consider this venture as a viable business, and in September 2021, Joseph’s Tea opened its first physical location.

The tiny tearoom, which could only fit approximately 20 people, quickly filled in no time at all. The property adjacent to the business became vacant a year later, so the husband-and-wife team purchased the additional square footage to accommodate as many as 90 guests at a time. The beautiful and vibrant blue walls of the space, marble tables, velvet chairs, and cascading faux florals invite people into the modern, yet elegant, atmosphere to escape from the rush of everyday life and take respite in a dreamy oasis for a few hours. The tearoom is open six days a week for people who simply want to enjoy a good cup of tea and for those who want to experience the luxury of a leisurely teatime. The menu is extremely allergy-friendly and dietary inclusive, as Shannon, herself, is gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, and pescatarian. Joseph’s Tea makes it effortlessly easy to find a welcome place—no matter what your dietary restrictions may be—to indulge in the cherished tradition of afternoon tea.

Now offering 100 blends from which to choose—all blended in-house—there is no shortage of options at this establishment. With an extensive inventory of black, green, white, and iced teas, alongside a plethora of herbals, which reign supreme as most popular, each tea is purposefully crafted with health at top of mind. Though the brand continues to grow in size, the heart of their mission stays the same. For $38 per person plus gratuity for the standard tea service and $50 for a deluxe version that includes two glasses of Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, guests can expect to be impressed by the fare that is entirely prepared by Head Chef Cynthia Martin, to whom Shannon lovingly refers as “Mom.” The service boasts a marvelous pot of tea, tasty savories (a berry delight salad and traditional tea sandwiches), an assortment of flavorful scones (think blueberry, white chocolate, and brown sugar cinnamon) and tea biscuits accompanied by Devonshire cream and jam, and three petite seasonal desserts per person to properly satiate any sweet tooth.

In addition to the already alluring opportunities available when visiting Joseph’s Tea, there are myriad fun-filled events that take place regularly at the teatime destination. The tearoom hosts Bridgerton-themed soirées in full Regency attire, with a Queen Charlotte impersonator in attendance and harp music filling the background; jewelry-making classes; calligraphy lessons; “meet the author” events; and much more. Birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, and other special occasions for celebrating big milestones find a wonderful home at this locale.

By late summer or early fall of 2024, the business will be offering franchises for those who are interested in two separate models: a tearoom model akin to their flagship store and a tea bar model with a tea-tasting focus.

Now married and with an adorable one-year-old son in the equation, the Josephs are only getting started on their tea journey, as their marvelous tea-infused love story continues to unfold. “The best part [of working with my husband] is that he is the love of my life, and we definitely have completely different strengths,” Shannon divulges. “He’s really strong at marketing and design; I’m strong at operations, managing staff, and coming up with ideas for the menu. We complement each other in that way, and we’re a really great team.”

Joseph’s Tea is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Reservations are required.

To reserve your spot or purchase tea from their website, call 352-679-1339 or visit josephstea.com

Text by Katherine Ellis Photography Courtesy of Joseph’s Tea



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