Growing up, everyone in A.D. Wright’s West Indian household had a job to do; his was serving tea to his mother. In that regard, his life’s work was established at age 3. After growing up and working as a digital marketer, Wright found himself missing tea. He secured a job at a Manhattan tea shop and learning the business side while simultaneously studying to be a tea sommelier.
In 2017, he used his digital prowess to launch an online tea store with significant other Jamila McGill. A year later, the pair opened a brick-and-mortar shop near called Brooklyn Tea near their home in New York. Now, in May, their long-time friend Kerri-Ann Thomas is bringing Brooklyn Tea to Castleberry Hill in Atlanta.
“I’m from Atlanta. Kerri-Ann and I found each other at Spelman College. [Castleberry Hill] is our stomping grounds,” McGill says.
With a casual, industrial vibe, Brooklyn Tea sells 100 types of loose-leaf teas, plus hot and iced tea drinks. There’s chocolate mint, blueberry rooibos, apple cider tea, and lavender Earl Grey, to name a few. The Atlanta location will start with 50 varieties and introduce more over time.
“We’re the Ralph Lauren of tea,” Wright says. “We’re a high-quality brand known for style that’s not pretentious, but not a bargain brand either.”
Thomas is partnering with Dymetra Pernell of First Batch Artisan Foods to offer vegan pastries and breakfast offerings. While none of the Brooklyn Tea owners are vegan, they believe they’re filling a void in the market, Wright says.
The 1,300-square-foot space will highlight fellow Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood by rotating the art on the walls and displaying locally made products like candles and hand sanitizer.
“We’re focused on having a communal experience,” Wright says.