The Place: Tea & Toast Co.
The Location: 915 North Central Avenue
The Vibe: Located inside DeSoto Central Market, Tea & Toast Co. is a small coffee and tea counter. Diners and coffee seekers can walk up and place an order before taking a seat at one of the tables in the downstairs dining area or head upstairs to sit in the lounge-style seating area, with couches and bar seating.
The Specialty: The signature drink at Tea & Toast at DeSoto Central Market in Teaspressa. We'd never heard of this tea-based creation before, so we called Tea and Toast Co. owner Allison DeVane to find out what "Teaspressa" actually means.
“Basically, what I make is concentrated tea shots," DeVane says. "It’s kind of like espresso, but with tea." DeVane says she has a patent pending for the tea shots.
“Some people have mistaken it for coffee because its consistency is the same and it can look the same," she says. "But it doesn’t really taste the same.”
Try This: On one visit to the coffee and tea counter, we tried a classic espresso latte. It was spot-on in taste, temperature, and milk-to-coffee ratio. The barista even took a little extra time and made a design in the foam.
We also have good things to say about the food. On a recent Sunday, the stand was out of our first choice — the smashed avocado, hard-boiled egg, and salt gris toast — so we opted for the second on the list: toast with bacon jam and a sunny-side up farm egg.
Though the menu does come with a disclaimer that says the lineup of toasts may change “with the wind,” it’s always a bit disappointing when a spot runs out of your top choice. Still, the fancy toast was delicious. The sunny-side up egg was cooked perfectly and the bacon jam had a delightful sweetness, balanced nicely with some mild, caramelized onions. The Noble Bread toast was crusty and though it hardly seemed to be toasted at all, it did have a nice, mildly charred aroma.
Skip This: Admittedly skeptical about the shop's specialty, we ordered a Teaspressa latte. A few sips in, we discovered that this drink is a poor substitute for real espresso. It simply tasted like English-style tea, but with foamed milk. Our conclusion: Teaspressa is not too special. The one positive about it was that it did have the right amount of caffeine kick and that kept us adequately buzzed for the rest of the day.
You Should Know: A note about dining at DeSoto Central Market: It would be nice if there was real silverware available. Busing stations, too, might be a good idea. Finally, we wish the market had separate bins for recycling instead of the giant tin cans that look like something a Muppet might pop out of. All said and done, the food at Tea & Toast Co. fared better than the drinks — good enough to warrent a second visit even.