2021 Chicago Rising Star Tea Purveyors Jordan Scherer and Taylor Cowan of Spirit Tea

2021 Chicago Rising Star Tea Purveyors Jordan Scherer and Taylor Cowan of Spirit Tea

Spirit Tea
3431 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
spirittea.co

Photos

Taylor Cowan’s interest in tea began after he was diagnosed with cancer at 22. As he pushed through chemotherapy, his mom gave him a tea set containing a booklet of information about the teas; he was hooked. Every morning that he didn’t want to get out of bed, he had a new favorite ritual to motivate him.

On one rainy day in college, Jordan Scherer sought shelter in a tea shop. The barista suggested a Japanese green tea, and Scherer felt an immediate calm and alertness. This aha moment led him to cofound Wiseman Tea Co. in 2008 to provide wholesale tea and training to Chicagoans. Frustrated with the pressure to make tea “cool,” he moved on after two years.

Both East Coasters who grew up in the Midwest, Cowan and Scherer met, ironically, in a coffee shop. Cowan was just getting into tea and peppered Scherer, who was the tea provider to DarkCloud, with questions. They both found jobs opening stores for loose leaf brand Adagio Teas. Scherer then became a commercial salesman for a Taiwanese tea farm, while Cowan jumped around as a pedicabber, karaoke host, Levi’s sales associate, writer, and bartender at Mott Street. 

Scherer returned stateside to sell espresso machines for BUNN and saw the prevalence of low-grade, flavored teas in the wholesale market. The industry wasn’t talking about the incredible people and places that tea comes from. So he and Cowan reunited to start their own company, Spirit Tea, that focuses on premium, sustainably sourced, loose leaf teas without artificial flavorings. Educating and exciting people about tea, they now sell tons of tea per year to hundreds of national accounts.