There's no hiding the pun behind the name at newly opened Novel Tea in Wilton Manors. The shop offers tea, of course, but also acts as a sort of book exchange for patrons, say co-owners Rey Delgado and Todd Bowe. Bring in a book to donate to the Novel Tea collection and you'll receive a free or discounted food item or beverage.
"Ultimately, we want this to be a community building space," says Bowe. "Our idea for the free library is just one part of that vision."
Novel Tea is more than just a place to do some light reading or sip on some hot and cold teas. The week-old café has an urban design where you'll find a short bar that — later in the evening — offers a place for guests to drink wine and beer as well as a selection of desserts and pastries prepared by a Miami-based artisan baker.
The bar also serves hot coffee roasted by nearby Fort Lauderdale-based Argyle Coffee Roasters. It can be prepared via the pour-over method or French press. Tea, however, is the main focus.
Bowe says he sources tea from several distributors who help to find specialty seasonal selections that will rotate every few months. Right now, the menu offers several white, black, green, herbal, and oolong teas — all made to order and brewed by hand by both Bowe or Delgado, who operate the shop six days a week.
Flavors include unique picks like green pomegranate mojito or black crème brûlée, all naturally flavored without any chemicals, syrups, or artificial ingredients. There are currently a dozen flavors available, but the duo says they hope to have as many as 40 different teas in the future.
Follow Novel Tea's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for notifications about upcoming tea and coffee pairings — seasonal flavored teas matched with any of their specialty dessert selections including vegan cookies, gluten free pound cake, cupcakes, and more.
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The two men are encouraging local artists to display their work free of charge and will even help to sell it sans commission. In the future, they hope to host monthly gallery nights. Likewise, musicians and performers will be encouraged to perform for the Wilton Manors community, with designated jazz and open-mic nights.
"This is one place on this stretch of Wilton Drive where anyone can feel at home and a part of the local community," says Delgado. "We feel like we're entertaining — just like we're in our own home with guests."
Novel Tea is located at 2043 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Call 754-206-4321, or visit novelteafl.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the New Times Food & Drink Instagram.