Drink Me! Tea room

When Drink Me Tea Room opened in 2021 owner Melissa Harlan never thought her Alice in Wonderland themed tearoom would become a community hub with needs to expand only 3 years later. Her new Drink Me! Tea & Treats opened on June 1st and is co-owned with her daughter Hayley who runs the new business and bakes all the treats in house. The need came as many guests stopping in for afternoon tea would want drinks and more to go so they took over an empty store front two doors down for the new concept.

The new Drink Me! Tea & Treats serves Hayley’s gluten-free and plant-based brownies, coffee cakes, scones, shortbread cookies and seasonal vegan macaroons along with hot and cold drinks. Drinks include loose leaf teas such as Ginger Orange Peach and Strawberry Rose Latte that can be sweetened with plant-based syrups. Allergy friendly additions such as soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, Stevia and agave allow people with all diets to enjoy their beverages. Tempe’s Brick Road Coffee supplies its cold brew on tap for the new business.

“We saw a lack of representation of desserts for those with food allergies when we would go out to eat. Yes, many restaurants now have a few gluten-free and vegan side dishes and entree options on menus, but rarely through to the dessert portion of the menu. Creating a central hub for restaurants to offer fresh desserts on their menus can foster an inclusive dining experience for many customers,” said Melissa.

How Drink Me Tea Room came to be

Melissa started planning Drink Me Tea Room in 2019 after a visit to London and fell in love with afternoon tea service and once home she started her business plan to open her own tearoom. Being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis led her to a gluten-free and vegan lifestyle and saw a need for others with similar diets to enjoy afternoon tea. Hayley saw how the Drink Me! had an impact on the community as an afternoon helper when she got out of school. When she graduated Corona del Sol High School in 2023 she was inspired to join her mother and help continue what Melissa started.

Opening the new concept came with unforeseen issues including $14,000 worth of plumbing and kitchen repairs needed to get opened. She didn’t have the money lying around but Local First Arizona was able to help with a super low interest loan from their Green Loan Fund. The loans are financed by Growth Partners Arizona and Vitalyst Health Foundation which provides up to $25,000 to eligible Arizona businesses who implement environmental updates. The loans help businesses in fighting pollution and conserve water all while lowering their water and fuel bill.

“Through the Green Loan, I was able to get the funding extremely fast to help get our plumbing repairs completed and get the business opened. I would absolutely recommend this funding opportunity to other businesses who are interested in implementing sustainability projects or making needed repairs to help with water or energy savings,” Melissa says.

Drink Me! Tea & Treats is at 1730 E. Warner Rd. Tempe 85284. For more information visit their website.

Follow me.

Similar Posts

Let me know what you think