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The Meek House’s Top Principles for a Successful Coffee Shop

Tea with Tom: Coffee Shop Best Practices Episode 2

Featuring Gianna & Elizabeth of The Meek House, Redlands CA

Welcome back to another episode of Tea with Tom. Here, we discover the best practices our entrepreneurial customers have taken to build and maintain successful business. In this episode, we explore The Meek House’s top reasons for success. Elizabeth and Gianna are sisters and owners, born to first generation Romanian immigrants. Of course, Summit Tea is well fond of women entrepreneurs. In fact, Summit Tea Company was founded by Tom’s sister! Now, listen along as we eat The Meek House’s famous Cornulețes and talk about the Journey to Meek.

Funding – Not Just Financially

Financially, Gianna and Elizabeth’s parents saw their business plan as an investment. However, their parent’s support came through in different ways. First, The Meek House has a European vibe inspired by their parent’s Romanian origins. Having seen their mother, a businesswoman herself, put forth all her efforts into her business inspired the two sisters. In addition, their father helped them with permits from city hall. Together, their parents inspired them to not just dream, but to run after dreams. Then, time came to put their dreams to the test as they quickly realized just how different their idea was at their chosen location. Surrounded by franchises, they had to pitch an independent idea before a board of mall executives. Scary? You bet! Impressively, they mustered their courage and landed a key location across a movie theater. Today, they are still the only independent organization in the entire shopping center.

A Place to Call Home

Elizabeth and Gianna’s dream is to have a place people can feel at home in. It may appear that the coffee industry can feel quite elitist. Therefore, they wanted to create a different atmosphere. This is where the name for The Meek House stemmed from.  “Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the Earth” (Mathew 5:5). When starting a new business, their advice is to not get worked up in the details. Elizabeth advises, “people will remember the memories they made in the shop, not the upholstery.” Now, with Elizabeth having a little girl on the way, she feels confident that having a place that feels like home to her will be a helpful space for her family to be involved with the community she helped to create.

Journey to Meek

In order to accomplish their dream, Gianna and Elizabeth took some actions to set their shop accordingly. First, they employed well-intentioned staff that understood the goal they were working towards. The sisters were sure to devote all their time to working alongside their employees. This way, the staff understood how they wanted things to be done, but also, they were a part of the mission, not just a getting paid. Next, The Meek House works with organizations and companies that make a positive impact. From local small business, to responsibly sourced coffee beans, everything is selected with kindness in mind. Finally, referring to their dream, despite their drinks being “hand-crafted”, they wish to stay humble. Craft, quality, and service all go together at The Meek House, where they “spread kindness with every cup of coffee.”

Advice to Future Entrepreneurs

“Don’t be afraid to try new things.”

When they first opened, they had no intention of roasting coffee beans themselves. However, through help from the coffee community and positive feedback from customers, now The Meek House has their own roasted coffee beans!

“Hold on to the Ride”

The “Journey to being Meek” was a personal journey as well. Elizabeth and Gianna found themselves in a daily coaster of ups and downs. They had to learn to be much more patient, flexible, and intuitive than they through they already were. They recognized that the key to the process was to be patient, it is all in God’s plan.

“We all started with a dream – stick with it, anything can be possible.”

Increasingly, over the years we have seen the number of women entrepreneurs in the coffee society rise, and this is because of amazing women like Elizabeth and Gianna. Indeed, they inspire young women that they too can follow their dreams, even if they may seem bigger than oneself. Without a doubt, Summit Tea is proud of all our women entrepreneurs and all they have and will accomplish.

Just want to listen? Here is the audio! Want to listen on the go? Download the MP3 Audio!

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Summit Tea’s Cold-Brew (Steep) Guide

Cold Brew Nation

Demand has been increasing for these “ready-to-drink” beverages, as they embrace the spirit of efficiency without ever sacrificing flavor. It is no wonder that Oliver Strand stated in The New York Times “The United States is becoming a cold brew nation.” – so why not do so with tea?

Cold steeped teas are perfect for home and office as the method brings you the ideal refreshing ice cold tea every time. While hot and room temperature teas would melt your ice to some degree, refrigerated cold steeped tea will not immediately melt your ice, giving you the perfect iced tea just in time for lunch. Tea takes a while to steep; this is just longer and in preparation for the next day. Therefore, it gives you something to look forward to.

Why Cold-Steep?

Cold brewed tea, or more accurately cold steeped tea, is a great alternative to preparing delicate teas. White, green, and Oolong teas are picked from the youngest of leaves, and therefore are easily affected by hot temperatures. The cold-steeping process is a great way to extract and maximize all flavor, and unlike steeping in hot water, is gentle with the delicate leaves.

When you traditionally brew or steep coffee or tea in hot water, the naturally occurring oils and caffeine are activated, releasing the more bitter and astringent flavors of the plants. However, when you cold brew coffee or cold steep tea, the oils never “cook”, therefore you don’t get that “robust roasted” flavor. In its place, you get fuller and more naturally sweet tastes in your coffee and tea. Refreshing cold steeped tea is easy to make, as it uses the same process and equipment as cold brew coffee.

Cold Steep with Summit Tea

We would like to show you three different ways in which to cold steep the most delicate of our premium teas. But first, are some factors to consider before cold brewing the perfect glass of tea. Of course, this is just how we make it at Summit Headquarters, so feel free to experiment using different amounts of tea and time to your personal preferences.

3.0 grams of Tea per 8 oz of Water12-16 hoursRegular Filtered WaterTo Taste
Better tea, better results. Add more tea for a stronger cup or if diluting in ice. Cold steep overnight in the refrigerator. Use less time for delicate teas. Flat waters yield flat tea, as mineral content brings out flavor. Use a simple syrup, as cold tea will not easily dissolve sugar or other sweeteners.

White Tea– Classic Method

You Will Need
White Tea5 gr
Drawstring Bag1 bag
Glass Jar with Lid 16 oz
Filtered Water12 oz

White tea leaves are the youngest and most delicate of the tea leaf life cycle. These leaves are especially susceptible to hot temperatures. Therefore, when we cold steep white teas, we are not only extracting their delicate flavors, but we are also making the most out of caring for the young leaves.

We used the Classic Steeping method for our white tea. First, we added our Rose Silver Needle Tea to one of Summit’s Drawstring Bags. Then, we filled a glass jar with cold filtered water and added our bag of tea and sealed it – just as if we were brewing a regular hot cup of tea. With white tea being so delicate, we allowed it to steep in the fridge on the lower end of the cold steeping spectrum at 12 hours. Finally, remove the bag and it’s ready to serve, or place the lid back on and save it for later.

Oolong Tea – Decanter Method

You Will Need
Oolong Tea5 gr
Tea Brewing Decanter12 oz
Filtered Water12 oz
Glass16 oz

Oolong green teas are are beautiful to watch unravel. When picked, these leaves go through a clumping process that produces long rolled tea leaves. Therefore, when we cold steep Oolong teas, especially Oolong Blends, in clear decanters, we can appreciate their uniqueness as we extract their flavors.

We used the Decanter method for our Oolong tea. First, we added our Passion Oolong Tea to one of Summit’s Double Walled Glass Tea Tumblers. Then, we added cold filtered water, to almost the top of the container, placed the tea-strainer lid, and carefully filled the rest with water, finally sealing the tumbler. With Oolong tea being so flavorful we allowed it to steep in the fridge on the mid range of the cold steeping spectrum at 14 hours. After, we appreciated the leaves and poured into a glass.

Green Tea – Concentrate Method

You Will Need
Green Tea10 gr
Drawstring Bag1 Bag
Filtered Water12 oz
Ice12 oz
Glass Jar with Lid16 oz
Glass32 oz

Green teas are the most popular because of their health benefits. However, many people do not enjoy drinking green teas because when they are not brewed just right, they can be bitter. Cold steeping is a way to obtain all the benefits and flavors of green tea, without all the bitterness.

We used the concentrate method for our green tea. This method works to create a concentrate of tea that you can dilute with ice or water over time. This is especially useful for coffee and tea shops that serve larger quantities of iced tea per day.

First, we added twice the usual amount of our Green Mountain Thunder Tea to one of Summit’s Drawstring Bags. Then, we filled a 16 oz glass jar with cold filtered water and added our bag of tea and sealed it. Since we enjoy the dewy taste of green tea, we allowed it to steep in the fridge on the high range of the cold steeping spectrum at 16 hours. Then, we filled a 32 oz glass with about 12 oz of ice. Finally, we poured our green tea concentrate in with the ice to yield us two cups of iced tea at the end of the day.

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Summit Tea: Origins

Summit Tea: Origins

By Marji Waller-Thompson, Founder

A great cup of tea is hard to find – we’ve traveled to China to bring some of the best teas to you. Welcome to Summit Tea! My family and I are very happy to welcome you to the wonderful world of premium teas.

Our story started when I, Marji, lived in China from 2002-2004. During my time there, I learned how wonderful loose whole leaf tea is, and I had the chance to taste traditionally produced teas of all varieties – black, white, oolong, green, and even tisanes (herbal infusions).

When I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, I brought my interest in quality whole leaf tea back to share with a good friend named Mary. Our interest in tea was piqued by how closely fine teas parallel fine wines. Just like a glass of wine, each tea is an individual to be enjoyed on its own or coupled with food.

The tea that most people are familiar with come in tea bags, however tea bags tend to be a lower grade of tea made from tea fannings, the “tea dust” that remains after the whole leaf tea is packaged. We knew that Summit Tea could provide an opportunity to share the endless, wonderful world of the highest quality teas that are just waiting to be tasted.

The name “Summit Tea” represents that our business provides the top teas available. This name is also appropriate because some of the world’s best teas are grown at higher elevations. Most of our tea is direct sourced and produced in China, but some of our premium providers are located in France and the Pacific Northwest. We have worked to gather a beautiful and delicious array of teas to meet everyone’s tastes. In addition to traditional teas, we also offer decaffeinated and herbal (naturally caffeine-free) options.

In 2011  my brother and his wife, Tom and Patti Waller, took ownership of Summit Tea and relocated to the beautiful Southern California city of Redlands.  Tom and Patti’s vision was to direct source their Chinese teas from one farmer as well as expand Summit Tea by serving Coffee Communities and independent Markets. All this while continuing to serve our growing on-line Retail Customers. 

We look forward to sharing these fine teas with you as we invite you to try all our teas. You will not be disappointed!