The Spice Merchant: Behind the Scenes Look

Teas on Teas on Teas on Teas

Tea has become ever more popular with each passing year. By weight, Americans now drink almost 20 percent more of the herbal beverage than they did back in 2000, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

My tea knowledge is limited to Lipton iced tea and how to correctly spell the word tea (T-E-A) which is even sometimes a struggle depending on how early it is. Occasionally co-workers will bring different assorted tea for people to try at work and I’ll cave in give it a try.

This week thanks to the Wichita Asian Association, I was able to attend an after hours behind the scenes look at the Spice Merchant, do a little tea tasting and just learn about teas. It was the perfect type of event for a newbie like me.

The Spice Merchant is a locally owned store that specializes in coffees, teas and spices. I’m not talking about the basic stuff you can get at Wal-Mart. These are items brought in from all over the world…..literally. The Spice Merchant was started in Wichita 35 years ago. They are the go to spot in the city for all that they sale. I have friends and co-workers that swear by this place. Tea sales in Wichita has also grown through the years and a lot of that can be attributed to the Spice Merchant.

Located at 1308 E Douglas, just between Hydraulic and Washington. They are open 9 am – 5:30 pm on Mondays through Fridays, 9 am – 5 pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

You can read all about the Spice Merchant at their website:

On my hour and a half visit at the Spice Merchant, I learned so much that this little blog entry won’t even do my visit justice. They have over 200 different teas on hand from roughly 20 different countries. It’s really a lot to take in when you first visit. If you are a first timer or wanting to learn about tea, they have such a knowledgeable staff on hand to help you make your decisions. If you’re a first timer like me in the world of tea, I didn’t know that one ounce of tea can make up to 16 ounces of tea and be rebrewed to make another cup. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if re-brew is the right word!


I tried an assortment of different teas like the Imperial Pearl Oolong and th LiShan Spring Oolong. We were shown how to properly taste tea, learn how tea was made, how to brew teas, countries where tea was made, how teas are brought to the states from other countries. It was such a thought provoking little tour that I enjoyed thoroughly.

The owner, Bob, was truly a delight to listen to. There’s nothing more interesting than really learning from someone who has a true passion for what they do. Bob has been all over the world learning about teas and coffees and works his tail off to ensure that the best variety and options are brought to Wichita. He truly spares no expense.

We were also taken upstairs to see how the teas were ordered and brought in. It’s really amazing how much tea is purchased in bulk and sold. I never realized how big of a market there is for teas in Wichita. I always noticed that the Spice Merchant is busy every time I drive by but now I know why. The tea is really that good and so many different kinds to choose from.

On top of all the teas they have on hand, they have a really beautiful and unique collection of teacups, saucers, and pots from India, China, Japan and many other different countries. My experience with tea cups have been limited to what my four year old niece has in her bedroom so my eyes were really opened to a whole new world…..a new fantastic point of view (I promise that’ll be my one Aladdin song reference for the year).




If you go, definitely check out everything they have to offer in the world of teas. One side of the Spice Merchant is entirely dedicated to teas. I haven’t even touched upon coffees or other things they have on hand. I’ll have to leave that for another blog or another time I go in there.

The Spice Merchant truly is a one of a kind place in this city. A long time business that has done great things in our community. Besides running a business, the Spice Merchant takes really good care of not just their employees but groups in our community. They donate to many different organizations like Botanica Gardens and the Kansas Public Telecommunications Service (aka KPTS Channel 8).

I honestly went into this event not expecting much and left with a whole new perspective on teas. Who knew it was such a big thing?

If you’re into supporting local businesses, love teas and coffees, take yourself to The Spice Merchant. I’m sure i’m in the minority of people who haven’t been to The Spice Merchant until now because they have such a huge following of people.

I want to thank the Spice Merchant for hosting this event. Truly a fun experience and a great way to start the week. Unlike any wine or beer tastings, I could drive the streets of Wichita safely post tea tasting. Now if only I could get some sleep from all that tea………………..

Happy Dining

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