1. Life & Culture

Life of the Party podcast: Here’s the tea with Abigail StClair

How the founder of Tampa Bay’s TeBella Tea Company shifted careers into a lifelong passion.

Ever read the tea leaves of your life and decide it’s time for a major change?

Listen to the advice of Abigail StClair, who might know more about it than any of us. She studied history and biology at Mount Holyoke and had plans to work in veterinary medicine. She was a whale trainer — yes, a whale trainer — worked on a cruise ship, at restaurants. But nine years ago she took a jump into a field she was passionate about: tea. She founded Tampa Bay’s TeBella Tea Company, with a successful line of Tampa Bay tea shops and a wholesale business.

RELATED: TeBella founder Abigail StClair talks tea facts you may not know

We asked her about making the transition, why a mug of tea can be just as relaxing as a glass of wine, and what life is like inside a tea shop. Hint — there’s a lot of British pop culture.

Abigail StClair plucking tea in Glenburn Estate, Darjeeling, India. [ Courtesy of TeBella Tea Company ]

Oh, and no big deal. But she said Shawn Mendes called TeBella’s chai latte the best chai latte he’d ever had.

The superstar singer came into the TeBella location in Oxford Exchange with his tourmate and girlfriend Camila Cabello recently, so of course we pumped Abigail for information. We’re not monsters.

Also: Lizzie McGuire is back, and you’ll never believe this star’s past as a hand model.

Listen with the players on this page or for free at iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.