Tea Town Alabama, the first mobile tea truck to come to Tuscaloosa County, is owned and run by Becca and Jonathan Gardner, who remodeled an old horse trailer using recycled materials to build the tea bar. The truck will sell strictly organic tea, fair trade tea and tea made from ingredients from Snow’s Bend Farm, where Jonathan Gardner works.
“We are going to sell tea, but not just any tea,” Jonathan Gardner said. “I hope people that want more than the average cup of coffee or refreshment will understand that we put a little more effort into every cup that we brew.”
The tea truck had its debut in November at Kentuck Art Night and made an appearance at the annual Kentuck Art Festival. Amy Echols, executive director of the Kentuck Art Center and Festival, said it was a delight to have the truck at the both events.
“What we don’t expect to find is art in beverage form,” Echols said. “This is what Tea Town Alabama offered the festival this year, and feedback was very positive.”
Becca Gardner said the mobile shop’s goal is to use as many local ingredients as possible. Currently the shop uses ingredients from Snow’s Bend Farm, Belle Meadow Farm and tea from other locations. She said one of her favorite parts of the creative process is testing new tea flavors by incorporating different seasonal fruits and herbs into tea blends.
Tea Town has already used butternut squash from Snow’s Bend Farm in their pumpkin chai, blueberries and mint from the Gardener’s own garden and basil from Belle Meadow farm in some of their teas.
The Gardners said it was important to not only make good tea, but also to have a good overall feel for the new company.
“We try not to just have a good product, but we want everything surrounding the product to be excellent as well,” Jonathan Gardner said.
In addition, Tea Town strives to promote good habits and protect the environment by using only compostable materials in serving their tea. Tea Town also uses ingredients bought from the Fair Trade Market to ensure the workers who produced the ingredients were paid a fair wage.
Becca and Jonathan Gardner said the truck has been a family affair and included their kids in the renovation of the truck and the selling of tea. Becca Gardner said one of the best parts about running the truck is getting to know new customers.
“A cup of tea can really bring people together,” she said.
A list of future Tea Town Alabama visits can be found on teatownalabama.com.