Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Black Momma Vodka Founder To Open Black Momma Tea & Cafe

There are few moments more inspiring to witness than that of a successful black businesswoman expanding her brand and pursuing her passions. Vanessa Braxton, founder, and owner of Black Momma Vodka is doing just that with the opening of a 4,600 square-foot Black Momma Tea & Cafe, bar, and office in Wheatley Heights, NY.

Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Braxton first launched her Black Momma vodka brand in 2013. Three years later, in 2016, she opened a manufacturing facility in Wyandanch. That same year saw her begin the production of teas and flavored agaves. Business continued to boom over the following years and she now boasts a grand total of 33,000 online and wholesale customers and has made $2.9 million in sales. The brick-and-mortar space in Wheatley Heights will serve as her company’s headquarters and training facility. With plans to open distribution centers in several states and almost 300 interested franchisees, Braxton needs all the space she can get.

Black Momma Vodka

Although Braxton considered many different locations for this central facility, officially named Black Momma Tea & Cafe, she chose Wheatley Heights because of its residents. According to census data, the population of this Long Island town is approximately 5,100 people, with over 60% of residents identifying as black and Latino.

“I have plenty of places I could go. But I wanted to take the opportunity for people who look like me to see what I’m doing for the community so that they can step up and do the same thing,” said Braxton.

A retired structural engineer, Braxton is certainly an inspiration for her community. Not only does she have more than 20 years of experience in construction and engineering, but she was the first African-American woman to build a Burger King in New York 22 years ago.

Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Her goal for Black Momma Tea & Cafe is to become the Starbucks of tea. Braxton wants her cafe to be the premier purveyor of tea, just as Starbucks is for coffee. As she is planning for each of her future cafes to have a liquor license, she hopes that they’ll also be able to serve something a little stronger than tea. Braxton’s vision includes her cafe serving craft beers from local businesses as well as her branded liquors.

Of course, no cafe would be complete without an offering of tasty treats and luckily she found it easy to come to an agreement with a local company who specializes in restaurant supply who were able to help her make her dream of offering food too a reality. Black Momma Tea & Cafe will have plenty of snacking options for customers-on-the-go, such as muffins and wraps. In an effort to diversify the diets of families, Braxton’s cafe will focus on vegan and organic products. This focus will be of great value to adults as well as children, who shouldn’t have more than 25 grams of sugar per day. The cafe’s healthy food options can help keep their sugar intake down.

While many of the products featured in Black Momma Tea & Cafe will be branded products, plenty of the food and drink items will come from other local businesses.

“I’m using a lot of small, minority, women and veteran-owned vendors, who never had the chance with larger places. It’s economic inclusion for everyone,” Braxton said.

To further help the community, the cafe in Wheatley Heights will have meeting rooms available to all. Braxton plans to offer free classes in these rooms by using partnerships with companies such as Microsoft.

Braxton certainly has the necessary financial backing for her enterprise, with over $2 million raised from nearly 3,000 investors on Wefunder, a San Francisco-based equity crowdfunding site. She is still waiting on the town’s approval to move forward with her plans. Once she has their permission, she plans to open her cafe early next year.

Tea Time w/ Teavana, and Taylors of Harrogate Teas

Hello fellow tea lovers, we hope you guys kept warm with a mug or two of one of our delicious hot toddy recipes. We continue celebrating Hot Tea Month with some non-alcoholic tea options. If you haven’t heard, we’re in for a bit of snow off and on for the next 2 1/2 weeks, nothing too major, but just enough to break out a few cups of tea to warm you up. If you don’t have any tea at home, we recommend you picking up teas from two of our favorite tea brands, Teavana, and Taylors of Harrogate.


The above set is actually a holiday set we’re still enjoying and sadly its no longer available, but you can snag the equally wonderful Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Ritual Set (pictured below), a five piece set that comes with Oprah Chai Tea in a Tea Tin, a 32 oz Perfectea Maker, and two double wall glass mugs (we especially love these mugs because we don’t burn our hands like ceramic mugs do).

Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea Ritual Set2

Aside from its amazing taste, your purchase of the Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Ritual Set, a $4.00 donation will be made to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation to support educational opportunities for young people, including Girls Inc., National CARES Mentoring Movement, Pathways to College and U.S. Dream Academy. This is a tea with a great purpose. not only does it warm your body, it warms your heart as well. We’ve probably stated this before but our favorite tea is chai, we love the combination of these Indian tea leaves, milk, sugar, and blended spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, and cloves. To us, it is the perfect combination of creamy, sweet and spicy. Grab the Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Ritual Set on sale now for $44.98 from


When you have a legacy of tea that spans 130 years, chances are you know your teas and trust us when we say Taylors of Harrogate knows all there is to know about tea. From black and green teas to flavored and herbal teas, Taylors’ collection of tea offerings has something for every tea lover. Taylors prides themselves in harvesting unparalleled quality and flavor for their teas, so they are put through the most stringent testing to make sure nothing sub-par makes it into their production. With fans that include the British Royal Family, you know you’re getting the best.

Today we’re highlighting the Taylors of Harrogate Variety Tea Pack, which boasts a 48-count of the following eight tea flavors including, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Breakfast, Lemon & Orange, Pure Assam, Green Tea with Jasmine, Organic Peppermint, and Organic Chamomile. Not only is tea delicious and healthier for you, imagine all the hot toddy varieties you will enjoy with this variety pack. We’re really excited to try the Assam Tea, a rich, strong and full-bodied black tea with malty notes that is best served with milk. Of course, we still love the old favorites we grew up on such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey; thanks to Taylors of Harrogate, you can indulge in classic tea flavors and discover a few new ones. Visit Brands of Britain to purchase a tea or two and to learn more about Taylors of Harrogate teas.

Now that we’ve introduced you to Teavana, and Taylors of Harrogate, will you be adding more tea to your daily routine? What teas are you enjoying during Hot tea Month? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

Antioxidant Power: POM Wonderful’s Antioxidant Super Teas

It’s the tea lover again, bringing you more tea favorites (there is a long list of tea to present to you later). Because we’ve been feeling under the weather, the temperature in NYC is still set to “dehydrate every living thing”, and we’re entering the Pomegranate season, we thought we’d share one of our favorite cold tea products, one we happily enjoy year’ round. We have loved POM Wonderful’s Antioxidant Super Teas since they were first launched in those keepsake glasses, some of which we still have today. These crisp and refreshing POM Wonderful’s teas are available in four delicious flavors: POM Lemonade Tea, POM Sweet Tea, POM Honey Green Tea and POM Peach Passion White Tea.

Don’t ask us to choose a favorite, because we can’t pick just one. we love the slight tartness of the POM Lemonade tea, the soothing (and great-for-sore-throats POM Honey Green Tea), the sweetness of the POM Peach Passion White Tea, and the distinctive flavor of the POM Sweet Tea.  The best things about these teas, apart from their great taste and nutritional value, these super teas also make super cocktails, but first, let’s get to know these awesome gluten-free flavors which combines fruit juice and the antioxidant power of  pomegranates and tea:

  • POM Lemonade Tea – a fresh take on an all-time favorite combining POM Juice with perfectly sweetened lemonade and tea.
  • POM Sweet Tea – a California twist on Southern tradition with sweet black tea and POM Juice.
  • POM Honey Green Tea – offers the natural sweetness of honey and rose for simply tea-lightful flavors.
  • POM Peach Passion White Tea – combines the tropical flavors of passion fruit with sweet ripe peach to deliver a crush-worthy taste.

Now check out two of our favorite and oh-so-delicious cocktails made with POM Wonderful’s Antioxidant Super Teas; selecting only two cocktails to highlight was quite difficult,  but luckily you can see more POM Tea cocktails here:

POM Springs

POM Springs Cocktail

2 oz. POM Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark rum
1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
Assemble all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a goblet or tall glass over ice. Garnish with orange, lime and peach slices. Serve and enjoy!

Geisha Highball

POM Geisha Highball Cocktail

4 1/2 oz. POM Pomegranate Honey Green Tea
1 1/2 oz. dry sake
1/2 oz. citrus vodka
Garnish with 2 long slices of English cucumber, cut to look like chopsticks. Serve and enjoy!

For those of you who, like us, are feeling nostalgic about the old tea glasses, check out four of them from our POM Wonderful Glass collection below. Our go-to flavor back then was the POM Lychee Green Tea, we couldn’t get enough of it, but these four flavors more than make up for it. After accidentally breaking a few POM teag glasses….one incident was a full glass (damn our slippery fingers), e’re happy to sip from these unbreakable bottles.

Each bottle of POM Wonderful’s Antioxidant Super Teas retails for $1.99 and can be purchased in thousands of stores, from such pharmacy and convenience stores as Duane Reade, CVS, and Walgreens, to supermarkets like Pathmark, Food Emporium, Stop and Shop, etc. To find the closest retailers near you, check out the POM Wonderful Store Locator.

Tea Time | No Longer Just an Afternoon Delight

Our love of tea is no secret and knows no bounds. While most people swoon over coffee more than anything, we bleed tea. We proudly call our cupboard of tea, a collection, because just as people collect stamps, action figures, etc, we collect tea. We thoroughly enjoy tea infusions and experiment a lot with flavors and while we haven’t gushed here on ready-to-drink cold tea drinks, we’ve been enjoyed them for year – and we’re not talking simple iced tea. Today we highlight cold tea beverages we’ve been enjoying. Some are new, some have been around for years. all we know, they are all very delicious and good for you. Get ready to stock your refrigerator, not your cupboard, with teas from ITO EN, Little Miracles, ChaiElixir, Honest Tea, and Gold Kili.

ITO EN’s Oi Ocha’s Shincha

When you’re thinking of limited edition teas, ITO EN’s leading Japanese brand of green tea, Oi Ocha comes to mind. For the first-time ever, bottled Shincha, the year’s first harvest of green tea, is available in the U.S. Known as the year’s very first harvest of green tea, which is celebrated for its fresh and lively flavor, naturally sweet finish and smooth umami taste. Oi Ocha Shincha is better for you than typical green teas. With its high concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine, catechin antioxidants and Vitamin C, lower caffeine, and high concentration of Catechins/EGCG – a powerful antioxidant in tea that helps neutralize free radicals, this limited edition, seasonal tea will blow you away with its health benefits. Oi Ocha Shincha is available in 16.9 oz., BPA-free recyclable bottles at select retailers and at

Little Miracles

Little Miracles are delicious tea beverages you can enjoy anytime. These addictive drinks combine the purest organic green or black tea leaves with the most revitalizing fruits and juices from superfoods. One taste of these refreshingly healthy drinks and you’ll find yourself hooked. What can you expect from this bottled goodness, energizing ginseng and Acai in their purest forms, and other great ingredients such as lemongrass, ginger, pomegranate, and white cherry. Available in four uniquely blended flavors, you’ll find yourself continuously quenching your thirst with these high quality, antioxidant tea drinks day and night. Little Miracles come in handy little 11.16 oz bottles but are very new to the US. To find a list of stockists (aka retailers), go to


We have a profound love of chai. it is a love we cannot understand and one we have completely surrendered ourselves to. Which is why we were truly excited to be introduced to ChaiElixir, an amazingly refreshing, effervescent chai drink that is an all-natural alternative to carbonated and caffeinated drinks. If you’ve ever enjoyed the spicy, sweet and milky taste of a cold or frozen chai, you will fall head over heels in love with all three flavors of ChaiElixir. Essence boasts a blend of white tea, natural flavors and spices, sweetened with sugar cane and white peach nectar. The very smooth Fusion blends oolong tea, natural flavors and spices from around the world with a touch of vanilla for an enchanting and flavorful journey. Last but not least, Vivid invigorates your taste buds with green tea, natural citrus flavors, spices and caffeine. ChaiElixir comes in 12 oz glass bottles and can be purchased at

Honest Tea

For those who want the fresh taste of fruit with a caffeine-free tea option, the organic, 100 calories per bottle, Honest Tea is just what you need. Although the two newest flavors, Orange Mango Flavored Herbal Tea and Pomegranate Blue Flavored Herbal Tea are launching in January 2015, you can currently indulge in their refreshing and slightly sweet flavors. We recommend their Raspberry Tea, Honey Green Tea, and Peach White Tea, all of which are only 70 calories per bottle. Honest Tea comes in 16.9 oz. and 59 oz bottles, and is available at mass retailers and drug stores nationwide.

Gold Kili All-Natural Ginger Lemon

we know what you’re thinking, one of these things is not like the others. Yes this tea can be enjoyed hot and cold but ever since the weather has become unpredictable, we’ve been plopping one of these filter bags into all our drinks. We’ve infused our water, orange juice, smoothies, etc with the sharp, spicy taste of ginger all for our good health and love of this pronounced flavor. Made with the finest grade ginger, and enhanced with the naturally tangy lemon, Gold Kili will cure what ails you this winter. A box comes with 12 individual foil pouches and can be purchased on

Are you a tea lover like us? Have you tried any of the above? Share your favorite cold tea beverages.

Where Tea is a Pleasure | Good Earth Chai

Anyone who knows me (or has looked up my Starbucks card order history), knows Chai is my favorite tea. Chai is known as a type of Indian tea, made by boiling the tea leaves with milk, sugar, and cardamom. But did you know Chai actually means tea in Hindi? Which mean when you order a Chai tea, you’re actually asking for tea tea….which is a bit funny. Anyway, I love getting creative with my chai, I usually do chocolate chia in the fall and gingerbread chia in the winter and summer it’s all about refreshing cold chai drinks. This is why I love the Chai variants from Good Earth, they’re not afraid to fuse chai with various fruits, spices and roots to create new exciting flavors. The three Good Earth Chai flavors, whose names I absolutely adore, are featured below:WILD CHAILD


With tantalizing chai spices and smooth caramel flavor, the curiously exotic Wild Chaild gives you the sweet you need with just the right amount of spice to make whatever you’re doing more interesting. We love the subtle taste of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and star anise that add to the exotic flavor mix of this bold chai.



With smooth vanilla and decadent maple flavor infused with traditional chai spices, Sweet Chai of Mine is the perfect way to enjoy some “me” time. Ginger, natural peach flavor, and licorice root are just a few of the ingredients which adds to the smooth and delicious flavor of this tea.



Ready for an amazingly exotic chai that’s organic? Featuring organic spices that are masterfully blended with a surprise touch of cherry flavor to create a decadent tea experience, Organic Starry Chai will blow your mind. With its mix of organic raspberries and natural cherry flavor mingling with the likes of organic cinnamon, organic nutmeg, organic ginger root, organic licorice root, and organic black pepper, you are sure to enjoy ethereal moments of elation with every sip.

All three Good Earth Chai flavors are available on their website. A box of Wild Chaild and Sweet Chai of Mine retails for $4.49 each, while Organic Starry Chai is $4.79 each. Each box contains 18 tea bags.


The Republic of Tea – The Cup of Life

As the weather gets cooler, I love to indulge in a cup or to of tea. While people go nuts for coffee (including my family who are all coffee lovers), I am a 100% tea lover. I do my own ice tea, I enjoy ice tea popsicles, tea cocktails, I also mix in fruit or fruit flavors in my ice tea for variety or an exotic flavor. When I drink hot tea, I also tend to mix flavors – I love all things tea and love to experiment. One of my favorite tea brands is The Republic of Tea. They have such a wonderful range of premium teas – from Black to Rooibos, Chocolate to Cherry, Pumpkin to Apple Cider, and so on. The Republic of Tea has also introduced a new range of SuperHerb™ TeasMoringa, Jiaogulan, and Baobab.

This selection of SuperHerb™ leaf teas features powerful herbs that are known for their healing properties. These ancient herbal plant blends offer antioxidant benefits in their tiny leaves, and The Republic of Tea combines these wonder herbs with enticing ingredients such as ginger root and mint to result in superb tea bags that are as delicious as they are healthy.

Known as the “miracle tree,” Moringa (mor-IN-ga) has small, vibrant leaves that have long been prized in indigenous cultures for their healing properties. Sourced from sustainable farms in hot, tropical climates where the trees thrive and are traditionally used as medicine or cooked into soups and stews, moringa is also delightful steeped for sipping. The Republic of Tea combined moringa leaves with green rooibos and natural mango flavor for a sweet, fruity note to the grassy, herbal base.

A wild vine native to southern China, jiaogulan (JEE-ow-goo-lan) is described by local inhabitants as the “immortality herb.” Ancient cultures believe this adaptogenic herb, similar to ginseng, could benefit the whole body. Recognized for over a thousand years for its anti-aging, anti-anxiety and antioxidant properties, Jiaogulan is thought in Chinese culture to provide unusual longevity. This fragrant, healthy cuppa is infused with monk fruit, a celebrated natural sweetener, and a hint of spicy ginger root. Refreshing sipped hot or over ice. I love the hint of ginger in this tea and it’s a great tasting way to beautify yourself inside and out.

Known locally as kuka, baobab (BAH-oh-bab) is considered the “tree of life” for its massive, drought-resistant trunks that provide shade and shelter in Africa. The earthy, light notes of the baobab leaf are blended with a touch of mint for a grounding, healthy tea experience. Baobab is thought to be an antioxidant in Africa. Traditionally used as a versatile medicine, baobab has a reputation for fighting asthma and soothing inflammation and fatigue.

Are you a tea drinker? What are some of your favorite tea leaves?