A good story has the power to excite, captivate, and call to action. From our earliest moments, bedtime stories are an integral part of a wind-down ritual. And as adults, we still become enthralled at the telling of a good story. Perhaps, that’s why meeting Kyle Stewart at The Cultured Cup was so intriguing.
The Cultured Cup is a high-end tea boutique in Dallas. Drawn in by the promise of a chocolate tasting, I received so much more.
The Cultured Cup
I walked into a nondescript building in one of Dallas’ warehouse districts and found the tasting room lined with tins of tea. As we read some of the names, we quickly realized that this was not a run of the mill English Breakfast or Green Tea kind of shop. Each tea is a special blend of the finest ingredients, and each tea has a story.
I could have listened to Kyle for days as he explained the importance of altitude and insects in one tea blend that was created to specially honor an emperor’s low-ranking (but highly loved) concubine. Or how The Cultured Cup became the first Dallas retailer to carry the prestigious Mariage Frères brand of tea 21 years ago. I loved hearing about the relationships The Cultured Cup has formed with famous chefs who commissioned them to create a tea list. And I was amazed at the thought and precision that goes into the creation of such a list.
Meeting Kyle Stewart
Kyle Stewart co-owns The Cultured Cup with Phil Krampetz. He trained for the opera, spent time as a college professor and has years of experience in the field of technology. Along the way, though, he picked up a passion for tea. The story, the ritual and the feeling of well-being drew him in. Now, he’s dedicated his life to being as knowledgable about tea as possible. He’s a Certified Tea Specialist, a Specialty Tea Institute (STI) Mentor and an STI Advisory Board Member. He consults with major corporations on tea culture and production so consumers can get the best possible experience. Think of your favorite place to grab a cup of hot tea or a bottle of iced tea. There’s a good chance Kyle’s expertise mingles with the tea leaves in that drink.
Relax with tea- tips from Kyle Stewart
“Six years ago The Cultured Cup began our speak-easy style tasting room business. When customers make appointments in our tasting room, we ask them why they drink tea. Reducing stress and caffeine are the two major reasons. With work-time stress at an all-time high, I encourage customers to take short, mental vacations throughout the work day by having a cup of tea. How does tea reduce stress? All tea, but especially green tea, contains a powerful amino acid called L-Theanine. Scientists discovered that this component calms brain wave patterns and improves focus. For hundreds of years, Buddhist Monks have preceded long periods of meditation by drinking tea!
To maximize the calming effect of tea, select a cup or mug that has special meaning to you. Find your vessel by using its color, texture, size, and shape as your guide – you’ll know when it’s yours! While making your tea, focus solely on ‘the ritual of making tea.’ Remove any thoughts of work, and focus solely on your vessel and the act of making tea. This ‘mental focus’ before the calming effect of the tea’s L-Theanine is akin to stretching before running a race. Here’s to ‘being in the moment with a cup of tea.’” – Kyle Stewart
What’s your favorite kind of tea? Let me know in the comments!
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