It all began in Spring 2007 when the owners of PicassoZ Art Cafe when on an excursion to exotic Naples (Florida) and tasted true loose leaf for the first time. Each petal and citrus piece sprang to life and gave each sip a new adventure for the two. Mark & Kristin attended the World Tea Expo that summer which opened up a whole new world of specialty beverages. The couple sensed that tea was the new buzz and started a major remodel of their existing cafe at Lakeland’s Lakeside Village right away. The new tea cafe would be its own little shop, instead of a concession inside PicassoZ well-known pottery painting studio.
Tea Largo Beverage Company opened October 2007, introducing the majority of Lakeland to boba, matcha, mate, and true premium tea with our own super casual, old-Florida twist. Its more than mango and coconut flavored iced teas! Its about traveling the world by trying Japan’s ceremonial tea in a creamy colada shake, or adding Vietnam’s tapioca boba pearls in South Africa’s rooibos over ice. Our little tea shop blossomed.
In 2014, Tea Largo was ready for a new, fresh beginning. Owner Kristin searched for a perfect place for little Tea Largo to continue to grow. Downtown? Dixieland? No. We like the South. Our plaza can hold PicassoZ studios with charm, convenience, and is one of the few where you can pull up to the front door!
Kristin began an ambitious permanent mosaic installation in its floor, feeling like she would never leave. Yes, the floor was mosaic’ed with painted tiles done 9 years prior by art students for the opening of the Lakeside studio. Custom clay pieces of fish and other underwater creatures were removed from PicassoZ much talked about Lakeside bathroom, and installed in Tea Largo’s new floor. Employees even painted a tile piece to be represented in the floor as well.
Furniture was thrifted or donated by Kristin’s sister Shelly, who made very special vintage post card tables. Throwback Thursday…we’ve got you covered. Reclaimed wood on our menu wall and kitchen cabinets donated that we painted, tiled, or covered with more wood from Alafia Architectural Salvage. Some may call it “green” but we called it budget.
With the creative energy of PicassoZ pottery painting on one side and Breakables mosaics on the other, Tea Largo is truly a one of a kind destination in Central Florida. We’ve tried to create an Instagram lovers dream and a yelp users paradise. Enjoy!