Photo courtesy of Urbal Tea Cafe
Herbalist Nick Nowaczyk founded Urbal Tea with a mission to bridge the gap between urban society and herbal health. After selling his delicious, antioxidant-rich herbal tea blend (also known as tisanes) at farmers’ markets, local retailers and online, he now owns a physical store at 3060 S. 13th St.
The neighborhood around 13th and Oklahoma Avenue is called Crisol Corridor, which means "melting pot" in Spanish. "This will be an outlet for the community, especially this community," he said. He heard a lot of enthusiasm from city and community leaders. "People can come in, drink tea, relax and hang out."
Nowaczyk has partnered with Ryan Pattee, the developer of the Pattee Group, which is known for redeveloping city-owned buildings and injecting new vitality into them. Urbal Tea’s new space is located in a building that was formerly the site of the Lex Lounge nightclub, which closed about five years ago and has been empty since.
Urbal Tea opened in July and occupies more than 3,000 square feet. It includes a tea house and a front tea bar offering hot and cold herbal tea, coffee, espresso and other local products. The manufacturing space at the back will allow Nowaczyk and his employees to produce their herbal tea blends under one roof. Customers can find a large number of traditional teas, as well as customized in-house herbal blends. Nowaczyk invested in a tea bag machine, in addition to his loose leaf herb varieties, it also allows him to add environmentally friendly plant-based tea bag options. There is a window in the work area where customers in the tea room can see the operation with their own eyes.
There is a bakery, and soon there will be food prepared on site to pair with tea and coffee. Nowaczyk recently purchased a non-porous convection oven. Look for sandwiches, seasonal soups and salads, breakfast burritos and quesadillas. "We will cater to our community, which is a melting pot of all different groups. We have a strong Hispanic community here, and we will continue to outreach and collaborate with local Hispanic organizations," he said.
The new space allows creativity, tea education
Nowaczyk advocates using Urbar tea as the foundation of a healthy life. "Herbs aims to bring herbal health to urban society," he said. "I am not reinventing the wheel, but to build a healthy life." The Urbal Tea blend is not made from tea, but from native hay such as dandelion root, mint or lavender.
Nowaczyk hopes to educate people that although tea is a popular drink in the world, the tea tree is not native to the United States; however, the herbs in his tea are sourced locally as much as possible, such as lavender from Door County or Wausau, Wisconsin Cranberries and ginseng from the region. The made herbal tea has a larger and bolder flavor profile. "The mixture we created tastes great; it doesn't just taste like grass, green tea or earth. From the beginning, this was my mission to let more people drink something that not only tastes good but is good for you."
In addition to his flagship tea blends such as after dinner, ginger, mint and licorice; Brain Booster, which is made from blueberries, mint and sage; or Stress Out, which uses vanilla, turmeric and cinnamon, Nowaczyk will continue to make more than 20 of his Grow tea blends and try other varieties. He is making more seasonal blends and holiday seasonal teas. The tea party calendar will be provided close to the holidays.
"There is always something new in our work," Nowaczyk said excitedly. "This space will free up more time for me to do what I like to do, which is to create and develop tea."
For more information, please visit urbanhealth.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer who likes to capture the stories behind the food, beverage, and urban farming scenes that are happening in Milwaukee. She also writes articles on overall health, green living, sustainability, and human benefits characteristics.
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