Casey Chartier-Vignapiano • July 18, 2022

The Spirit of Tea at Coffee Fest Chicago 2022

good fun

A tea (or any beverage) is just liquid in a cup without the people to share it with.


Our weekend at Coffee Fest was a necessary re-introduction into the community after years of cautious practice due to COVID. We decided to use our presence at Coffee Fest to celebrate our first trade show since the pandemic and our 7th birthday as Spirit Tea.

Spirit Tea's bamboo modular booth, adorned with flower arrangements by John Pendleton of Planks and Pistils. A crowd of Coffee Fest attendees gather around the booth as Taylor Cowan serves them tea. The booth presents grass green and bamboo colors. The front desk shows a white angular design with green leaf designs.

Attendees father, drink tea, and discover Spirit Tea's new lilac-dominate branding and packaging prototypes.

We revived our original Spirit Tea booth, made by AōSA Image. It is a modular design made with bamboo with peg shelves for full-customization when setting up at shows. We decided to keep the booth in it's existing state but chose to emphasize our re-brand and new palette with floral design.

Taylor and Casey erected the booth in a record time of 45 minutes thanks to AōSA's brilliant modular design.

The choice for who to work with was one of the easiest parts of our Coffee Fest excursion. John Pendleton of Planks and Pistils in Chicago is no stranger to city; John is most known for his incredible, sweeping installations celebrating Black history, achievement, magic, and freedom and universal human spirit. 

John took our new color palette and created color-blocking pieces with an emphasis on our new primary color: lilac. He featured cheerful alliums, onions flowers, and other majestic blossoms to capture the essence of Spirit 2.0.

Jordan broke out his very special pot for Coffee Fest '22.

In addition to the excitement....

of our first trade show since 2019, we were also celebrating an important milestone: Spirit's conception. July 1st, 2015 marks the day Spirit became... Spirit! Spirit Tea was born in a Chicago apartment in Logan Square to Taylor Cowan and Jordan Scherer. It was a grassroots movement fueled by love of tea and the farmers that produce it.

...why not throw a party?


With the help of the amazing staff of Spirit, especially Stacy Redhead, Lead Designer, and our Production team, our HQ was transformed into Party HQ and dressed in lilac paper flowers and streamers.

Creating the menu for the night was another easy decision because we knew, even before the plan to party, who the food and wine purveyors had to be: Motorshucker and Rainbow Wines, both of Chicago.

Motorshucker is an oyster events business based out of Logan Square. They are primarily known for their motorcycle used to transport oysters in a cooler. Rainbow Wines is located in Albany Park and boasts an impressive selection of natural wines, olive oils, conservas, and wine subscriptions.

The two went above and beyond and created a food and wine menu fit for a cocktail hour at a black-tie event. In addition to Alpine oysters from Prince Edward Island, Motorshucker produced a cold bar with pickled vegetables, dips, bread, cultured butter, shrimp cocktail, and pickled oysters using our Kodama Sencha and pineapple.

Rainbow brought a dynamic collection of wines from multiple regions of France, Czech Republic, and Italy. Guests were able to choose form multiples bottles over the course of the night, allowing them a different experience every time they filled their glass. 

Every party needs music and gone are the days of an aux cord and iPhone. We invited friends of Spirit, Buen Viaje radio, to transform our space into a tropic paradise. They spun vinyl all night and created a breezy soundtrack to this memorable night of celebration.

The night was immortalized thanks to Davis Sayer's photo booth, which he painted our trademark lilac. Still looking for your photos? You can find them here.

Tired as we may have been after the hustle and bustle of multiple event and trade show planning, we all felt full of love to be able to share good food, wine, music, tea, and connections with folks near and far. That is the beauty of our hot beverage industry. May there be more [safe] opportunities to pass a hot cup to our neighbor in the future.