Allow Me to Introduce You To:
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Winter Park

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I’ve walked past the cheerful-looking Spice & Tea Exchange of Winter Park on Park Ave several times, but never quite had the nerve to go in. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not exactly a tea connoisseur, and my spice cabinet is typically limited to garlic powder, Mrs. Dash and some cumin or paprika if I’m feeling particularly zesty. I met the owners (Bryan and Jeffrey) at a work event recently, and they encouraged me to brave the store…with a friend in tow, of course.

When we first walked in, I was immediately struck by how organized and fabulously tidy everything was. A nerdy thing to notice, of course, but that’s what drew me in. Everything was arranged by section. There was row after row of tea….

…and peppers…

…and spices…

…and more. Like the salts, which I found most intriguing.

I had no idea there were this many types of salt. Peppers, sure (You’ve got your jalapenos, your habaneros, your chilis, etc.). And of course teas (black, red, white, green and all the various kinds in between). But salts? What kind of variety could there possibly be?

What about the famed ghost pepper (literally the hottest pepper on the planet, as verified by Guinness World Records), made into a salt? Genius!

I wasn’t interested in buying that blend myself, but the owners had mentioned the India Black Mineral Salt the last time we’d met, and they were kind enough to let me try it.

It tasted a bit like a cooked egg, which is due to its high sulfer content. Odd, but strangely delicious. And lest you think this is some sort of blogger special treatment, worry not: they let anyone sample whatever they’d like. If it’s a tea, give it a good whiff; if it’s a spice or pepper, they’ll dab a bit into your hand to taste.

Another nice touch? They mix their own spice blends, everything from popcorn seasonings to Indian curries to seafood rubs.

On the day of our visit, they had Vik’s Garlic Fix available to try with a bit of olive oil as well as in a creamed cheese spread, along with some crackers and crusty bread to dip. Delicious, and with the recipe to boot! Very clever.

The takeaway: I don’t think I can classify this one as Frugal Fun, because their 1 oz spices, for example, are $4.29 and I’m sure you can get them cheaper elsewhere. However, it’s a great place to wander around, learning about Purple Sticky Rice, organic catnip, blueberry sugar and more. The owners are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have, and if you follow their advice, you’re sure to have a culinary adventure.

  • Hours: Mondays 11a to 6p; Tuesdays – Saturday 10a to 7p; and Sundays 11a to 5p
  • Location: Spice & Tea Exchange is franchised in several states, but the local store is at 309 Park Avenue N., Winter Park, Fl 32789
  • Bonus: stay tuned for an interview with the Spice & Tea Exchange owners!

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5 Responses to "Allow Me to Introduce You To:
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Winter Park"

  • Thorough review! I’ve been meaning to visit this shop for the interesting salts and sugars, although it sounds like I’ll have to watch my wallet.

    1 MarilynNo Gravatar said this (June 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm)

  • Looking forward to the interview with the owners! I LOVE this place. :)

    2 KatieNo Gravatar said this (June 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm)

  • It’s not terribly expensive; it’s just that everything looks so delicious that you’ll be tempted to buy out the place, lol.

    3 Christine@RandomHangers.comNo Gravatar said this (June 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm)

Ping- & Trackbacks

  1. Chat A Bit With…the owners of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Winter Park « Random Hangers blog June 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm
  2. October Events at The Spice & Tea Exchange « Random Hangers blog September 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

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