Fuzzy Peach founders turn attention to tea in cafe planned for The Forum

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Wells Struble, Rocco Quaranto III and Kelly Struble have created a tea shop and cafe with the casual, modern feel of a coffee shop. Courtesy photos.
Wells Struble, Rocco Quaranto III and Kelly Struble have created a tea shop and cafe with the casual, modern feel of a coffee shop. Courtesy photos.

An alternative to the everyday coffee shop is brewing in The Forum.

Tama Tea–the latest venture from two of the Fuzzy Peach frozen yogurt chain founders, Wells Struble and Rocco Quaranto III–is set to open up shop in the coming weeks next to Boombalatti’s ice cream in the popular shopping center near Mayfaire. The pair has partnered with Struble’s wife, Kelly, on the business.

“Kelly is the real tea connoisseur,” Quaranto noted.

Tama Tea actually grew out of a plan Kelly had put together while earning her master’s degree in marketing. Quaranto and Struble, who sold the Fuzzy Peach franchise nearly two years ago, lasered in on the concept about five months ago after Quaranto said they were feeling the “entrepreneurial itch.”

“So, we said, let’s partner up, the three of us, and bring it to life,” Quaranto recalled. “And we wanted a unique place, a unique environment and eclectic place to hang out.”

Throw out your notion of china cups with floral designs–the shop is a modern spot aimed at bringing a java bar experience to purveyors of the tea leaf.

Tama Tea is located next to Boombalatti's ice cream shop in The Forum.
Tama Tea is located next to Boombalatti’s ice cream shop in The Forum.

“Tea can be a lot healthier to drink than coffee. It’s catching on here in the states. You know, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water,” Quaranto said. “We’re kind of behind the rest of the world, especially compared to Europeans and Asia but the trend is catching on here.”

The cafe, which will also serve healthy “Lite-Bites,” can brew up a cup of tea on the spot, hot or cold. And Kelly has created about a dozen original creations, a la the Starbucks-invented Frappuccino, including a ginger lemonade concoction.

Tama is also a retail shop, selling approximately 60 varieties of loose leaf tea. And it’s the only place of its kind in town, focusing specifically on the steeped selections.

The shop will also offer up, for free, a small meeting room that can be reserved in advance.

Quaranto said the trio hopes to open Tama Tea on Dec. 1. Ahead of the launch, they’re offering future customers a chance to try out a cup on the house. A $5 coupon for Tama Tea is available on the business’ website.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.