Babycat Milkbar, a pop-up store opening on May 10 in Wilton, was conceived by mompreneur Jeena Choi as a great place for locals to gather and enjoy coffee, tea and wholesome treats. “Milk bar is an old world term that’s big in Australia and the UK, and I’m bringing the term to life in Wilton” explains Choi. Babycat Milkbar will be popping up inside New England Historical Connection, a retail store selling custom-made furniture from New England craftsmen.
The temporary “store within a store” concept, known as a pop-up store, has been become a very popular way for retailers to create a unique experience for their customers. At Babycat Milkbar, customers can relax on New England Historical Connection’s cozy furniture while enjoying the best of local artisan foods including hot or cold tea from Mamacat’s Q. Tea, Choi’s organic, hand-blended herbal tea line; Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee that’s roasted fresh in New Canaan daily; milk and yogurt from local farms; cupcakes and macaroons from the Cake Box in Ridgefield; savory baked goods from Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe in Darien and the SoNo Baking Company and Cafe in Norwalk; and single nectar sources honeys from Red Bee Apiary in Weston. The pop-up milk bar will occupy 765 square feet of space and feature rotating art work and crafts from local residents.
Mamacat’s Q. Tea was born out of a desire to enjoy caffeine-free, refreshing teas that were gentle and tasty enough to share with children. Unhappy with the choice of commercially available teas, Choi began experimenting by hand blending a variety of organic, whole leaf herbal teas to create unique teas that would satisfy her adult palate, but also appeal to her three-year-old daughter. Lightly sweetening the blends with whole leaf Stevia appealed to kids and anyone looking to reduce refined sugar in their diet. It’s no accident that Choi developed the tea line while pregnant with her second child and suffering from gestational diabetes.
Jeena Choi’s husband is co-owner of In Pursuit of Tea, a premium supplier of fine, loose-leaf teas to top restaurants including those run by Chef Daniel Boulud. “He’s a real purist and won’t do blends, so I conceptualize the teas starting with the main flavor note I want in the blend, then hand blend whole leaf organic teas until my desired flavor profile is achieved.” Choi then lightly sweetens each with whole Stevia leaves and turns them over to her husband, a master tea blender, for final tweaking.”Teas are like wine” explains Choi. “Even the same varieties taste different from year to year.”
Mamacat’s Q. Tea flavors include Ruby Slippers, Emerald Wonderland, Amber Maharani, Blossom Hill, Casablanca Mist and Golden Slumbers. Choi describes Emerald Wonderland as a mellow, beautiful blend of French lavender and Goji berries. With Casa Blanca Mist, she wanted to create a Moroccan green tea, which is traditionally super sweet and caffeinated. By choosing spearmint instead of mint and blending in rose petals, licorice root, elderflower and stevia, Choi created her “favorite new elixir that’s both rejuvenating and relaxing.”
Mamacat’s Q. Tea’s line of fine, hand-blended and packed 100% organic teas can be enjoyed by the cup at Babycat Milkbar, Darien’s Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe, and the Cake Box and can be purchased for home use at Wilton Village Market, CT Farm Fresh Express and in the company’s online store. Mamacat’s Q. Tea will be a vendor at the Wilton and Rowayton farmers’ markets. Requests for for stevia-free blends are accepted. The teas can be enjoyed cold or hot, and even make great mixers for cutting edge cocktails and mocktails.
Babycat Milkbar will celebrate their grand opening on Tuesday, May 10 and will be open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sundays for private parties only. Address: 300 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT (inside NE Historical Connection). http://www.mcqtea.com/Home.html