From zero to three: Tea becomes a new coffee shop hot spot

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TEA, S.D. (KELO) — The community of Tea is seeing a lot of growth right now with many new houses and apartments going up all over town.  But for many years, this booming community has been missing a key amenity. 

It may be called Tea, but the many people in town have been waiting for the time they could smell fresh brewed coffee in town. Now it’s happening in a big way. 

“I had a friend who lived here who said there was no coffee shop at the time and if you would ever want to move your coffee shop, Tea would be a great place to go,” Central Dakota Perk owner Jen Mcnaughton said.

In Late August, the Mcnaughton family moved to Tea from their home in Presho, South Dakota, bringing their Friends-themed business with them.

“It was a town that was booming and needed a coffee shop, or more,” Mcnaughton said. 

“I’ve been working on this for about 18 months,” Zook’s Coffee Bar owner Linda Kokenge said.

Then just last week, Zook’s Coffee Bar opened on the northside of Tea, the owner’s plan to fill the coffee shop void she’s felt in her many years in town.

“People have wanted it and Tea has grown so fast,” Kokenge said. “When I moved here 27 years ago, there were like 500 people and now we’re close to 7,000. It was just time; time for us to have something like this.”

While people in town now have two options for coffee, they each have a different specialty. Whether you’re looking for a quick coffee for the road or if you’re looking for a place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends. So far, people in Tea are thrilled to have new options to choose from.

“Very excited to have them,” Tea resident Karen Reemthsma said. “So far, both here and at Zooks, it’s been busy, I’ve seen a lot of traffic and I hope we keep it that way and will be able to continue to support them.”
But soon Tea will go from zero to three, as Scooters also has plans to open a coffee drive-thru on the north side of town.

“Everyone has their own niche if you will,” Mcnaughton said. “Ours is the fast-paced, get your cup of coffee and get on the go really quickly.”

“Our vibe is totally different, we do have a drive-thru, but we’re also a sit down, we have a meeting room, and room for people to come in here, just do homework, hang out or gather as a group,” Kokenge said. 

The products they offer are also different. Central Dakota Perk focuses on coffees, smoothies and other specialty drinks, all made by the owners and their four kids.

Zooks has eight employees, a local roaster, locally made bakery items and plans to start serving hot breakfast and lunch. The shop is also planning to stay open late to give teens and others in town a place to gather in the evenings. 

As for the newly planed Scooters in Tea, construction has not yet begun.

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