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KrisTea brings new flavor to classic tea drinks

Currently operating out of the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, entrepreneur DeAndre Riley plans to expand KrisTea with a storefront called The Tea House at 906 Elm Road, by the end of the year.

[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown native DeAndre Riley launched KrisTea, a line of flavored cold brew teas, in March. 

KrisTea, which operates out of the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, produces roughly 450 single-serving, 16-ounce bottles of carmel cold brew tea per month. 

Although KrisTea is only offered in one size and one flavor right now, Riley said he plans to expand the product line in the near future with additional flavors and even producing gallon-sized jugs. 

According to Riley, KrisTea started as a way to put a twist on classic black tea and the tea drinks he grew up with, like Hot Toddy’s. 

“My grandma used to make [Hot Toddy’s], so I was just thinking to myself how [can I] add some flavor to it,” he said. 

Even though KrisTea’s initial marketing strategies were halted as local businesses temporarily shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic, Riley said momentum is picking back up as storefronts have reopened. 

KrisTea is offered in a variety of Mahoning Valley Businesses, including Cultivate Cafe, Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge, Southside Shine Wash and Wax, RevsRibs, Meeluvh’s Secret Garden, Kingly Xpress Hand Wash & Wax and Premium Discount Apparel. 

KrisTea is also sold at a variety of local outdoor markets and looking to work with large distributors in the near future. 

“Right now we are looking to get into more stores, trying to move at a [steady] pace,” Riley said. 

Riley said KrisTea can be served hot or iced, and is most commonly mixed with spirits like vodka or Hennessey. 

KrisTea is also actively collaborating with Candella Distillery to create a mixed drink product in the near future. 

Riley plans to expand KrisTea with a storefront called The Tea House at 906 Elm Road, by the end of the year. Riley said he, along with his business partner, Tanisha Sheree, want to create a relaxed study environment for students. 

“[The opening date] is still up in the air but we are looking at December. Just looking toward renovations and hoping that everything will be done by December,” he said. 

“There's a lot of other businesses in our area, I've talked with a couple of them just going by, [that are] very welcoming,” he added. 

“Anybody that I pretty much run in to, whether it be myself or KrisTea or The Tea House, I’d say they've been a very big help when it comes to pointing us to resources, giving us information, just kind of making the whole process an easy process,” Riley said. 

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