ST. CLOUD - You've heard of craft beers, but how about locally brewed craft iced teas? Two downtown St. Cloud businesses have teamed-up to create some unique blends of these non-alcoholic beverages.

Terri Emmerich owns "Spice of Life Tea Shop". She says she's been growing herbs for years, and offers 30 different blends in her store.

Emmerich says about a year ago they started working with "Quarks American Bento".

We found that it would be kind of fun to create some tea blends that would compliment their homemade sauces. So, my daughter really is the wizard at smelling and coming up with these combinations.

Emmerich says she and her daughter are self-taught. She says, as far as she knows, she's the first to be making these non-alcoholic beverages in central Minnesota.

Quarks American Bento owner Lisa Schulte, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Quarks co-owner Lisa Schulte says the locally made fresh teas fit well with their food options.

We were really attracted to it because she (Emmerich) offers a clean product. Our entire menu is very clean eating, we wanted to make our drinks just as clean.  We were fascinated with the blends that she came up with.

The four recipes are exclusive to Quarks. While Emmerich created the blends, Schulte and her husband named them. They are called: Illuminate, Innvigorate, Bliss, and Content.   Schulte says the craft teas have really caught on with their customers. She says 70 percent of the drinks they sell are the ones they make themselves, including the teas, lemonades, and infused waters.

When we are ringing them up at the end, we ask if they want anything to drink.  And, since we've provided our own beverages, that side of the cooler everybody just gravitates to it.

After partnering with "Quarks American Bento" for the past year, Emmerich is starting to branch out.

Yeah, we're really doing more and more. We recently did a tea menu for Cragun's Resort in Brainerd. We came up with a whole line of up north woodsy kinds of blends for them.

"Spice of Life Tea" also has a booth each week at Summertime By George, if you want to try her teas there. And, Emmerich says she's open to working with other local businesses who are interested in having a craft iced tea option on their menu.

Videographer, Chrissy Gaetke contributed to this story. 

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