Faces of the Markets: Jennifer Nowicki – Cultivate Taste Tea
As the only certified tea specialist in Wisconsin, Jennifer Nowicki, owner of Cultivate Taste Tea Salon, said her passion for all things tea began at a young age, thanks in part to her grandmother.
“I carry fond memories of drinking tea with my grandma following delicious homemade family meals,” she said.
Nowicki said her palate for tea developed even more in the mid-90s when she discovered loose-leaf teas in Seattle.
She said her passion continued to grow over the years, eventually guiding her to the Specialty Tea Institute in New York City in 2005.
“I immersed myself in the world of tea,” Nowicki said. “I had found my passion and became acquainted with owners of tea estates, tasted teas not available in the United States and learned from the experts. I am the only certified tea specialist in Wisconsin (and have been) since 2009, and I continue to pursue my education with the institute.”
Nowicki said she is also one of eight people to represent the U.S. tea industry in two world tea conferences in China.
Setting up shop
Nowicki said the name – Cultivate Taste Tea – was born through a collaborative brainstorm between her and her sister.
“We liked the idea of ‘cultivate,’ because it has a growing and uplifting connotation,” she said. “We were also looking for something that sounds upscale without the snobbiness that sometimes can come with an upscale brand.”
Nowicki makes her rounds at the area markets.
“I have been at the Broadway Farmers’ Market since 2018, De Pere Farmers’ Market since 2015, Titletown Market I think since 2019 and Appleton Farmers’ Market since 2020.”
At the farmers’ markets, Nowicki said she offers loose leaf and cold brew teas.
She also offers sweet tea breads at the Broadway Farmers’ Market.
She said the best thing about participating in the markets are the customers and other vendors.
“The weather sometimes is not the best with the rain and wind, but I do have some nice repeat customers that I truly enjoy,” she said.
Nowicki said when she blends, she uses high-grade, organic and fair-trade ingredients to enhance a tea, not to mask it.
“We want you to enjoy and develop your palate, while feeling good that you are drinking something healthy, too,” she said. “We also use eco-friendly and biodegradable packaging, because we believe in not harming the planet.”
Nowicki said Cultivate Taste doesn’t use flavorings, candy or sugar in its loose-leaf teas and herbal infusions.
“(Customers) can feel good knowing that a certified tea specialist from the Specialty Tea Institute has expertly sources, blended and sells international, award-winning handcrafted and single origin loose-leaf teas online, farmers’ markets, our tea salon and wholesale,” she said. “We strive to source organic and fair-trade teas whenever possible directly from the farms across China, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan and India.
In June 2021, Nowicki said she made the leap and opened the Cultivate Taste Tea Salon on North Broadway.
“Cultivate Taste Tea Salon has been something I have been thinking about for awhile for a physical location,” she said. “Salon has an upscale feel to it.”
“I owned and operated a teahouse in Milwaukee for three years before relocating to Northeast Wisconsin,” Nowicki said.
Throughout the summer months, there is no shortage of vendors filling the farmers’ markets of the Greater Green Bay area – each offering their own niche products and services.
Over the next few months, The Press Times will highlight these very vendors to give readers a peek at the people and passions behind the ventures.
If you’d like to be profiled as part of the series, reach out to Press Times editor Heather Graves at [email protected]