Fat Straws Feature

By October 21, 2014 Featured Partners
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    Named after the wide straws used to consume their delicious bubble tea drinks, Fat Straws was founded in 2002 in Dallas, Texas by Terry Pham, who quit his IT job to try his hand at something new.  His perseverance, dedication and optimism paid off and now he owns and operates two locations. Terry has even been featured by “Entrepreneur Magazine” as an entrepreneur who successfully launched a business during a recession. We’ve been working with Terry since 2006 so he’s one of our oldest and most valued customers – his clear vision, extensive knowledge and role as a trendsetter in his industry is inspiring and honestly, you just couldn’t find a nicer guy!

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    How did it all start?
    My Mom worked as a Field Consultant for the Southland Corporation, parent company of 7-Eleven. So I practically grew up in the service industry. This is before Starbucks, so back then everyone got their coffee at 7-Eleven in the mornings. Whenever stores were struggling, they would send my Mom in to bring up sales and improve operations in the under performing stores. What always amazed me was that customers would follow her to the new store. People literally would go out of their way during their morning commute to give her their business because of the relationships she had developed.

    This had such an impression on me as a young man and it taught me to value relationships and the impact that people in the service industry can have on people. I was passionate about that relationship and knew that I wanted to be able to create and share experiences with people. That is what led me to Fat Straws. I remember the first time I had bubble tea and how it blew my mind. I obsessed over it and wanted to get one every day. There were few bubble tea stores here in Dallas and none of them were passionate about the customer experience and building relationships. I saw an opportunity and quit my full time IT job and decided to open Fat Straws. Twelve years later, here we are.

    It sounds like Fat Straws is a fun place to work. Can you tell us about your company culture?
    Our company culture is all about people. We take care of our customers, and we take care of each other. Because we are a small, privately owned business, every member of our team contributes to making our company run smoothly—from customer service to drink quality to all the smallest details that contribute to our unique Fat Straws identity. We are blessed to have a strong core group of individuals who can not only work hard, but also care about our customers and have fun in the process. Because we are a group of like-minded tea enthusiasts, we want our customers to experience and love bubble tea just as much as we do.

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    We know it was a big decision for you to start incorporating hot tea in your menu. What was it about Art of Tea that helped you make the jump and how did the risk pay off?
     In 2006 I traveled to Las Vegas, and embarked on a quest to find the perfect wholesaler at the World Tea Expo. We had a three-day opportunity to meet with dozens of tea companies, try out their products, and find the right partner with whom we would build a long-term relationship.

    Amidst the hundreds of vendors, Art of Tea caught my eye. Steve and I had great chemistry; he made me feel as though we were old friends, he was passionate about his company, and he shared my passions for tea and lasting relationships. I knew immediately that Art of Tea was the company I wanted to partner with.

    This decision transformed our brand. We have always been known for making great boba, but the addition of Art of Tea’s loose leaf teas gave us more phenomenal drinks to pair with them. Not only did our menus change, many of our operational processes changed, and we ultimately restructured our brand around Art of Tea. Art of Tea is a large portion of the Fat Straws DNA. Our tea of the day rotates between some of the most favored blends like Blueberry Pomegranate, Happy Tea, and Passionfruit Jasmine which was voted Best Iced Tea of Dallas in 2007. We could have easily chosen another company and privately labeled our teas, but instead we elected to keep the Art of Tea brand and feature it proudly and prominently throughout our store. We even have one of our new menu boards dedicated to all of the amazing teas we carry labeled “ART OF TEA.”

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    Are there any exciting upcoming trends in the tea/drinks industry?
    We have featured several seasonal “mocktail” drinks that bring together some favorite non-alcoholic mixed drinks with the iced tea world. A few years ago we hand crafted a Moji-tea which was Moroccan Mint Tea, fresh muddle mint leaves, with mangos or strawberries.  Another favorite is our Jasberry Iced tea, which fused the refreshing, floral taste of White Tip Jasmine with muddled strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. As a group, we are continuously looking for creative and innovative ideas, as well as expanding on old ones. Part of the fun is to find new, exciting ways to transform our product into something that will surprise and excite our customer’s taste buds.

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     Do you have a favorite milk tea recipe you could share with our readers?
    We are currently featuring a seasonal favorite, our Pumpkin Spice milk tea. It incorporates Art of Tea’s Pumpkin Pie rooibos tea, cream and just enough of Torani’s pumpkin sauce to highlight the notes of cinnamon, clove and ginger that make you feel as if you have harnessed the essence of autumn in a cup. Not only does it provide a delicious caffeine-free milk tea alternative for our customers, the authentic base of the rooibos tea allows for the natural flavors to shine through, as opposed to other beverage companies which just pile on seasonal flavored syrups to the drinks on their standard menu.  When spring arrives, fans of this tea always lament its temporary loss.

    [Interview by Katie Kirby. All photos provided by Fat Straws.]

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      Historical Uses of Fennel

      By October 15, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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        Fennel Historical Benefits
        [information via 1 |2 | 3]

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          Tea for Her: Brewing Rituals

          By October 9, 2014 Brewing Tea
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            Everyone has a different way that they enjoy their tea. Some may call this their “tea ritual.” In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the ladies at Art of Tea have shared their favorite way to drink and enjoy Tea for Her. When you purchase Tea for Her this month, Art of Tea is giving 10% of the proceeds to Los Angeles Breast Cancer Alliance. A tea that tastes good and does good! Let us know in the comments how you like to enjoy your tea, or what your tea ritual is!
            art-of-tea-tea-for-her-blend

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              Breast Cancer Awareness

              By October 1, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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                art-of-tea-breast-cancer-awareness_v2
                Tea for her can be found here

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                  Focus & Motivation Tips

                  By September 22, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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                    Whether you are in school or working, we all can struggle with focus or motivation from time to time. To enhance your ability to get work done, we have complied a list of helpful study tips to keep you motivated, as well as a relaxing, classical music playlist to keep your mind calm, and drown out extra noise. Enjoy!

                    art-of-tea-focus-tipsAOT-FocusPlaylist-01

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                      Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte Recipe

                      By September 18, 2014 Cocktails, Mocktails & More
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                        Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte
                        (makes four 8 oz servings)

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                        You will need:
                        – 10 tsp Pumpkin Spice Chai
                        – 2 cups hot water
                        – 2 cups milk
                        – sugar to taste

                         Instructions:

                        Simmer 10 tsp of Pumpkin Spice Chai in 2 cups of hot water for 3 minutes. Add milk and sugar (normally 4 tsp) and bring to a simmer. Do not allow to boil. Strain and serve. If you have a milk frother, you can heat the milk separately, froth it and then add to the strained chai.

                        Enjoy this delicious fall treat!

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                          Little Flower Feature

                          By September 18, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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                            card & sticker

                            1. Christine, can you tell us about your little cafe?
                            Little Flower is my life’s dream.  A tiny cafe on the edge of town, it’s where we gather to prepare and eat fresh, delicious food, drink strong coffee, listen to great music, and surround ourselves with art, neighbors, friends, and community. The cafe was born in 2007. Our menu has expanded to include soups, salads, bowls, quiches, tarts, breakfast dishes, and many baked goods.  Now, Little Flower is a cafe as well as a bakery and candy-making operation, and many stores across the nation carry our salty caramels.

                            2. What’s the most popular item on your menu?
                            That’s like asking me to choose between my children, I love all of them!  We have a large menu, and many daily specials to choose from at the cafe.  There is definitely something for everyone.  I would say our Goddess Salad with butter lettuce, haricot vert, cucumbers, chopped egg, feta, and lemon thyme vinaigrette, and our Green Turkey Sandwich on whole wheat with garlic edamame spread, aioli, oven roasted turkey, arugula, cucumber, jalapeño, avocado, onion sprouts, and cilantro are two of our most popular.  We make everything in-house from roasting our own roast beef, turkey, meatloaf made from scratch, to our delicious pastries.
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                            3.  What can your fans expect from your cookbook?
                            My recipes are simple and approachable.  I love the imperfection of food, and my hope with this book is to encourage home cooks to join me in honoring this imperfection. The goal is not to create masterpieces.  It’s to have fun, keep it simple, keep it fresh, and don’t over think it.  Make your cooking process enjoyable. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your efforts, then go for it. Play when you cook. And embrace the imperfections. Most of all, cook with love. It is the most precious ingredient.
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                            4. Why did you choose Art of Tea as your supplier?
                            We needed a change.  We needed to fall in love with our teas and offer something to our customers that we knew was of the highest quality and a fantastic selection.  After meeting with Charles (Art of Tea’s Director of Education) about our needs and then tasting, smelling, and loving the teas we knew it would be the right fit for Little Flower.  Art of Tea provided great service, and great tea.  It’s perfect.

                            5. Most importantly, which of our teas pairs best with your delicious salted caramels?
                            When you have time to sit and are craving something warm and sweet it pairs well with Chamomile Clementine, but you can never go wrong with a savory Classic Black iced tea and a sweet & salty caramel for a quick afternoon pick me up.
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                            [Interview by Katie Kirby. All photos provided by Little Flower.]

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                              Tea Wizard: Find Your Match

                              By September 11, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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                                Choosing a tea can be a difficult process. Have you ever wanted to take a test to find out your tea match? Look no further than the Tea Wizard. We have crafted a test that matches your personality and tastes with our teas. Give it a try, you may just find your new favorite match!
                                Check out five of our personalities below.
                                TheDad TheMentor TheStudent TheThinker TheWorker_2
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                                  Health Benefits of Cinnamon

                                  By September 10, 2014 Health & Lifestyle
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                                    Many of us have a super power spice right in our cabinets. Cinnamon is thought to contain a wide range of health benefits and nutrition. Check out eight of the ones we thought were most useful.
                                    art-of-tea-cinnamon-health
                                    [We make no health claims to the stated information above. Information found from the following sources: 1 | 2 | 3 ] 

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                                      Featuring: Better Booch

                                      By August 21, 2014 Art of Tea News
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                                        Featuring Better Booch, a maker of kombucha, and carrier of Art of Tea.
                                        1. What is Kombucha?
                                        Simply put, kombucha is tea and sugar that has been fermented together with a live culture of Bacteria and Yeast, or S.C.O.B.Y. The SCOBY converts the sugar into good-for-you acids and probiotics, which can help aid digestion, keep ulcers and acid reflux at bay, boost the immune system, and help with mental clarity.
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                                        2. Can you tell us a little bit about how Better Booch started?
                                        Trey and Ashleigh Lockerbie both have a background as touring musicians. Trey discovered kombucha through his sister’s victorious battle with breast cancer, and started making it himself out of his home in Nashville. After moving to LA and meeting Ashleigh, the kombucha addicts decided to quit life on the road and brew kombucha full time  – thus Better Booch was born. 
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                                        3. What makes your booch better?
                                        Unlike other companies, who flavor their kombucha with sugary syrups and fruit juices, Better Booch flavors only with tea, offering a refreshing, low calorie option. We are also a live, raw, beverage, because we do not pasteurize. Pasteurization kills the live enzymes and probiotics in the brew – significantly limiting the healthful properties of kombucha. 
                                        4. Why did you choose Art of Tea as a supplier?
                                        Finding premium, certified organic tea was of the utmost importance to us. We also loved that Art of Tea is based out of Los Angeles, as we love supporting other local business. We were able to stop by the Art of Tea headquarters and actually meet the real people who handle our tea, and tour the facility where it is prepped. Location aside, for us, Art of Tea’s beautifully crafted blends cannot be beat. They care very much about quality and consistency, and you can taste it in every sip!
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                                        5. Where can we find Better Booch?
                                        You can order online at www.betterbooch.com, and find a current list of our locations in California. Adding more daily!
                                        [Interview by Katie Kirby. All photos provided by Better Booch.]
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