Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina and Brad Cowherd.
Hi Christina and Brad, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We were both born and raised in Orlando and graduated from Edgewater. We served in Peace Corps Guatemala soon after we were married, and we immediately fell in love with the people, the language, the work, and the wide and lasting impact we could have working with people to empower themselves to change the health and economic viability of their families for the better. While we were living in rural Guatemala, we had time to explore the ins and outs of vegetarian and vegan from-scratch cooking, and we also visited a Guatemalan tea plantation and were intrigued with the ritual and health benefits of loose-leaf tea rather than bagged tea. And so the story of Infusion Tea began. We knew that we would return to Orlando after our service, and while we are blessed to be surrounded by a vibrant vegetarian and culinary community now, in 2004, vegetarian food and loose-leaf tea was hard to find. So, we set out to start our own vegetarian tea house where people could find a safe, happy home away from home.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
We have been fortunate to have started our business in the most wonderful, supportive, encouraging community! Even so, of course there have been obstacles along the way. The financial downturn of 2008 was very difficult for most restaurants to survive because most people stopped eating out for so long. We are thankful to have recovered, and then again COVID-19 threw a curveball recently. We are thankful to have pivoted quickly to a Tea-P box and yard sign program, which delivered not only looseleaf tea and toilet paper, which was in short supply at the time, along with smiles to people’s yards and doorsteps. Not only was the Tea-P program a ton of fun, but it enabled us to bring back furloughed employees during the time that we had been forced to close our dining room. Good Morning America and People Magazine picked up our story, so that was wild!
We’ve been impressed with Infusion Tea, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are an urban vegetarian teahouse with over 100 varieties of loose-leaf tea. All of our teas can be made hot or iced, and we also carry coffee drinks and flavored lattes made with local roaster Credo Coffee. Most of our menu items can be made vegan and/or gluten-free at no extra charge. We love our partnership with Heartship Baking, and we stock a plethora of vegan/gluten free/soy free/nut free beautiful pastries. We also enjoy featuring local artists, and inside our space you’ll find a well-curated gift shop displaying the works of local writers, artisans, artists, and other makers. Our café was designed with the idea of providing a space that was good for the whole person, body, mind and spirit. We want people to be comfortable and stay a while. In the summers, our family of 9 returns to the village where we served in the Peace Corps all those years ago and leads groups of travelers through our nonprofit, Faith Project International, in construction of wood-burning stoves in homes. 10% of Infusion‘s profits go directly to support this mission.
What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
What we like best about out our city is the incredibly supportive community that has grown and rallied around small businesses. I love the diversity of Orlando, the rad culinary scene, all the vegan options that abound, street art, all the fantastic murals, Least? The heat. Give me a scarf and boots and 40 degrees any day — I can drink more hot tea that way.
- Email: Christina@infusiontea.us
- Website: www.infusionorlando.com
- Instagram: infusion_tea
- Facebook: Infusion Tea
- Other: Infusiontea (TikTok)