For this week’s Thirsty Thursday, AY About You drops into the newly reopened Abbi’s Teas & Things in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock.
Owner and founder Abbi Siler is well-versed in the world of tea and is excited to share her passion with the Natural State as COVID-19 cases begin to dwindle.
“The tea shop has always been a dream of mine. I used to live in the corporate marketing world, but I’ve always loved tea,” Siler says. “I’d write for tea companies as a side hustle. Sometimes I wrote tea descriptions, and it was just a fun hobby of mine. Those tea companies often paid me in tea.”
Abbi’s Teas & Things has managed to combat the pandemic by having a sidewalk stand for the last year. Siler shares that her top three most popular drinks at Abbi’s Teas & Things are Cherry Fig, Turmeric Sunrise and Watermelon Rose.
The cherry fig is a black tea that is good both iced and hot. The turmeric sunrise is an herbal tea, blended with fruits such as apples and oranges. It is particularly good for inflammation. The watermelon rose is a seasonal iced tea, but its incredible popularity during the three months on the menu makes it one of the top sellers at the end of the year.
Siler, however, is a tea traditionalist. She tends to stray away from fruity flavored teas.
“What you’ll find in my cup is sencha, or a Japanese blend. Basil mint is my favorite iced tea, with an earthy texture.”
AY’s Staff Writer Emily Beirne and Associate Editor Katie Zakrzewski visited Abbi’s to try some of Siler’s blends.
One of the beverages the duo tried was the Turmeric Sunrise, a full-bodied golden liquid served hot. The beverage has the smell of a Christmas-time cider, but with the look and heartiness of a Southern Hot Toddy. The drink leaves a subtle citrus aftertaste and a soothing warmth to match.
The cold drinks tried by the duo were served in charming Ball Mason jars with a wooden straw over ice.
The first cold tea was the Lavender Lemonade, a cold tea the color of the plant for which it is named. The drink is earthy, and the initial flavor is herbal, but the aftertaste of tartly-sweet lemonade lingers.
Finally, the two tried another cold tea, the rich rust-colored Ginger Peach.
“At first, you get a subtle whiff of ginger, but the ending note is mainly peach,” Beirne says. “It’s peach tea, but with a twist.”
Beirne and Zakrzewski also enjoyed Siler’s chicken salad sandwiches and several sweets while seated in the warmth of the welcoming shop, surrounded by teapots and stacks of books.
Whether you prefer beverages hot or cold, Abbi’s Teas & Things is certain to give Arkansans a taste of afternoon peace.
Abbi’s Teas & Things is open Tuesday through Sunday until 6 P.M. While you’re there, you can purchase hot tea and iced tea, turkey, ham, and chicken salad sandwiches, house salads, scones, cookies, brownies and pastries. Gluten free options and vegan options are also available.