After five years on the East Coast, Dawn Flippin was looking for a way to return to Wichita and do something she loves.
Specifically, she wanted to “drink warm beverages and read books and talk to my friends all day.”
Flippin opened T – a tea bar a month ago with that goal in mind. It’s in the Green Elephant Village west of Central and Hillside.
“It’s just a place about slowing down,” she said. “I love coffee, but coffee is often about speeding up. Tea is about slowing down.”
Flippin grew up in Wichita and was a banker before deciding to become a Presbyterian minister. She earned a divinity degree from Dubuque University in Iowa, then spent five years with a church in the Princeton, N.J., area.
“I’m still often in pulpits on Sunday morning,” she said. “There’s always a pastor on vacation somewhere.”
The tea bar serves three iced teas – black, green and herbal – with different flavors featured each week. There are 40 to 50 hot teas available – from oolong and mates to herbal and white – with what Flippin called “a variety of spice and caffeine levels.”
The tea is served in hand-thrown mugs made by local potter Ally Schmidt. The tea bar also sells croissants made by Crust and Crumb, a Newton bakery.
Housed in a 1920s cottage, the tea bar has about 2,000 square feet spread among half a dozen rooms on two levels.
“It’s off the beaten path, but that’s what makes it cozy,” Flippin said.
She said she spent a couple of months working on the interior, refinishing the hardwood and having local designer Luke Bott come up with a logo that covers the main wall. The space is furnished with sofas, chairs and low tables.
Two college students and a high school student work in the shop. Flippin said several book clubs are meeting there. “If community groups want a place to meet, we’re happy to reserve a room for them.”
She’s trying to make the tea bar a recognized part of the neighborhood, dropping off free pastries at the Ronald McDonald House, the Wesley Medical Center emergency room and a local fire station.
“We just like making our little corner of the world a kinder, happier place.”
Now you know
T – a tea bar
Address: 509 N. Lorraine
Owner: Dawn Flippin