Saint Simons Tea Company
Just steps away from the spray of the ocean and sprawling oaks of Neptune Park, tucked in ever so quaintly just beyond the corner of Mallery Street and Beachview Drive, stands Saint Simons Tea Company. The colorful and eye-catching signage draws you to the door with a bit of whimsy and style. Once inside, you are greeted by owner Matt Holcomb, who by his own admission, “loves to talk to people”. His pleasant and patient way of carefully explaining the nuances of tea-dom entices you to pleasure your palate and experience “a taste adventure”, as one customer put it.
The shop carries everything from traditional or orthodox teas to custom artisanal blends, with more than 65 varieties available at any given time. “The teas come from premium blenders and vendors from all over the world”, explained Holcomb. Some teas include such ingredients as lavender from France, Lemongrass and Hibiscus from Egypt, and Rooibos and Cyclopia (better known as Honeybush) from South Africa. Only the finest of teas and fruit tea blends are selected for the shop, with several special select varieties available daily by the cup.
While enjoying a deliciously brewed cup of tea, Holcomb will graciously explain the differences in the various types and the properties that make them unique. He will also share the best method for brewing the perfect cup. “The whites and greens are loaded with antioxidant properties and have little caffeine, while the darker blacks are caffeine rich with less antioxidant value.” Holcomb stated, “While the little known Oolong teas are a nice middle-of-the-road blend, with both caffeine and antioxidant properties.” He further explained that “the black teas are a great choice for those that want that little caffeine kick, or are substituting tea for coffee.” Knowing the right methods for brewing make each type of tea the perfect cup each time you indulge in the pleasure.
Some of the shops best-selling teas include the Georgia Peach Oolong and the Coconut Black, which as Holcomb shared is one of his own personal favorites. “You simply can’t mess it up; it is great either hot or cold, with or without cream &/or sugar.” he said. “It’s just perfect.” Apparently he is not the only one who thinks so. One customer (her cup pictured here) shared this, “Lovin’ my morning cup of Coconut Black. I’m addicted to this tea. It is the best tea I have ever had.” Other favorites include: Mint Green Gunpowder, and Dragon fruit & Raspberry Blossom. (Which, I found to be quite exceptional.)
With so many teas available to try, it gives the perfect excuse to visit the shop again and again. While he considers his local customers to be the cornerstone of the shops success, Holcomb explained, “People who vacation here and then return home to places all over the country will often start phoning in orders; while both locals and vacationers ship teas from the shop as gifts. This often includes addresses across the globe, even APO’s. It is no surprise then that Saint Simons Tea Company was nominated as one of the Golden Isles “Greatest Places to Shop” according to South Magazines Destinations 2017. We too discovered it to be a great destination for both delightful conversation, and a wonderful shopping experience.
The shop also carries a selection of tea balls, infusers, tea cups, tea pots, and tea bags. Other gift items and accessories are available seasonally or can be special ordered upon request.
When asked about how he came to open the shop, and what it is that he enjoys most about it, Holcomb replied, “I came to open the shop in a round-a-bout sort of way after mentioning to a friend that I might like to live here.” Originally from Statesboro, Holcomb took a job here to work in the restaurant business as a manager after having worked in the restaurant/food-service industry through college. As a Religion and Philosophy major, this was not quite what he had envisioned he’d be doing, but felt it to have been providential. “Things always have a way of working out the way they are meant to”, Holcomb said, “and in finding something you think you’d love.” Holcomb then took his passion for tea, and coupled with his enjoyment of meeting and talking to people, focused his attention exclusively to opening the shop and selling the finest teas. Holcomb has done just that, and with considerable success. On Memorial Day this year, Saint Simon’s Tea Company will celebrate its third Anniversary in business. Holcomb said, “With tea there is something for everyone, there is something you will like, and tea is good for you.”
Holcomb graciously invites you into his perfectly neat little shop where the scents of spices, florals, fruits, and teas saturate your senses as soon as you walk through the door. Both friendly and engaging, he will give you his personal attention, explaining the artistry in the blending, the science in the organics of growth and its processes, along with the allure of the various countries of origin which will tantalize you with wonder. The teas are quite pretty and textural, each unique and special. There is so much variety and truly something for everyone. It reminds you a bit of the unique qualities of Saint Simons, after which the shop is named; the place Matt Holcomb now affectionately refers to as “Home”.
You can find the shop located at: 504 Beachview Drive, Suite 1B, Saint Simons Island, Georgia 31522. The phone number is: 912-638-1899, and hours of operation are: 10:30 am – 7:00 pm, daily, or visit them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saintsimonsteaco