Native Arizonan Chris Sossaman was in her forties before she ever tasted a cup of coffee. Sossaman is, and always has been, a tea drinker. “I really started Tea Royalty for selfish reasons,” Sossaman says. “I love tea and I love dining out, and I’d say to the server, ‘Tell me about your tea,’ and it was comical. No one knew if the [iced] tea was made from concentrate or fresh brewed.” Don’t even get her started on boxes stuffed with who-knows-how-old bags of cut tea. It’s as scandalous as iced tea made in concentrate form.
Then Sossaman had an epiphany: Arizona needs a good, quality tea source. So many restaurants offer impeccably sourced ingredients, including craft coffee from fresh roasted beans and handcrafted cocktails, but who is offering the same caliber of product in their tea program? Hardly anyone.
Sossaman aims to change that through importing the best loose-leaf teas she can find, and hopes restaurants take notice. Pane Bianco was the first, and one of their daily brewed teas is from Tea Royalty. She also offers her specialty teas at select retailers ($5 - $10). Some teas are pre-blended with flavorings and others she custom blends, especially for her corporate clients. Best sellers are cherry rose green tea, black Devonshire grey (a take on Earl Grey), and St. Elderflower, another black tea flavored with cranberry, safflower, blackberry and lime. Find Tea Royalty loose-leaf teas at Queen Creek Olive Mill and all three of their Oils and Olives locations throughout the Valley.
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