1. Arts & Entertainment

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.
TeBella Tea Company founder Abigail StClair. [Courtesy of TeBella Tea Company]
TeBella Tea Company founder Abigail StClair. [Courtesy of TeBella Tea Company]
Published Aug. 30, 2019
Updated Sep. 3, 2019

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.


  1. A therapeutic dance class held for Parkinson's patients at the 2019 Parkinson's Expo. The Sarasota Ballet will teach ballet moves at this year's expo.
  2. New '47 brand caps featuring spring training designs are on display as the Phillies reveal what's new at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
  3. ALLIE GOULDING  |   TimesGuests walk down Main Street with Cinderella's Castle in the background at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at Disney World in Orlando.
  4. Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams plans to open two locations in Tampa this summer.
  5. Zac Brown Band last performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in 2019.
  6. Emilia Sargent of Tampa Repertory Theatre.
  7. The cast of "Floribama Shore." Season 3, which was shot in Pinellas County, premiered in November.
  8. The Weeknd will perform at the Amway Center in Orlando on July 21.
  9. Violinists, Patricia Quintero, RubŽn Rengel, Alex Gonzalez and Emilia Mettenbrink, with the Sphinx Virtuosi orchestra from Detroit, perform at the Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum Thursday/
  10. A rendering of the new Ulta created by Hennon Group Architects and included in the permits for the building filed with the City of Tampa.
  11. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay.
  12. The Cheesecake Factory will bring an iconic selection of more than 50 cheesecakes and desserts to Clearwater mall Westfield Countryside this year.