The Spice & Tea Exchange of Grapevine strives to create a more flavorful life for its customers, store manager Stephanie Wells said.

The business sells herbs, spices, salts, sugars, peppers and fresh tea leaves for individual or wholesale quantities, Wells said. The storefront also offers custom spice and tea blends, and features a tea bar where any of the blends can be brewed to order either hot or cold.

“We want to create a more flavorful life for everyone that comes in and make them feel like they are coming into our home,” Wells said.

The backstory

Franchise owners Nancy and Jerry McBrayer opened their first Spice & Tea Exchange location in the Fort Worth Stockyards 15 years ago, but had their eye on Historic Grapevine soon after, Wells said.

While they knew there wouldn’t be as much foot traffic as the stockyard location, Grapevine’s proximity to the airport, its abundance of festivals from Grapefest to the Christmas Capital of Texas and its wealth of history made it an ideal destination for the business. By 2012 they opened their second location on Grapevine’s Main Street, Wells said.

What's for sale?

For its tea selection the store carries over 70 blends within several tea leaf varieties, including black, green, white, oolong, herbal, yerba mate and more, she said. One of the popular custom tea blends is the Lady Grey which combines lavender with earl grey creme tea, a black tea with orange peel, cornflower, natural vanilla, bergamot flavoring and natural creme flavoring. The blend is then zested with fresh orange and lemon.

On the spice and herb side the store sells over 100 different varieties as well as over 30 types of sugar and salts each, including smoked salts that are smoked with hickory, applewood, alder wood and bacon to change the color and flavor, Wells said. It also crafts over 70 custom spice blends in house, such as the all-purpose blend black truffle garlic, a mixture of black truffle, cilantro, garlic, Greek oregano, cumin, parsley, black pepper and black truffle sea salt.

“I’ll carry a bottle of that in my purse, and when I’m at a restaurant I’ll put it on baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, french fries—I’ll put it on everything,” she said.

The Spice & Tea Exchange also puts together local sample packs that pair three flavors, such as the Taste of Grapevine which uses merlot and chardonnay sea salt and Mantazas chili. The blend is tailored to the Grapevine community, paying homage to Grapefest and the chili cookoff, Wells said.

Why it's special

Each franchise procures its ingredients from the distribution center in Florida, which sources them from all over the world. The company strives to harvest each spice, herb and tea leaf from their indigenous country, Wells said.

The Spice & Tea Exchange prides itself on this quality and won't compromise, even in cases where natural disasters cause supply issues for products, she said. The company would rather go without the item for a while rather than harvesting at a suboptimal location.

The owners are also members of the Historic Downtown Grapevine Association which meets monthly to discuss volunteer opportunities that local businesses can get involved in. Wells said she recently volunteered at the Grapevine first responders luncheon early this month, and the company frequently puts together gift baskets and donations for local charities.

“It's something that the owners have been adamant about ever since they opened,” she said.