‘Spicing Up’ New Canaan: Grand Opening of Spice and Tea Exchange Set for Friday


A look inside the new Spice & Tea Exchange where shelves display fresh salts, spices, and sugars sourced from around the world. Credit: Tahlia Scherer

The New Canaanite 2024 Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Karp Associates.

A melting pot of countries, exotic flavors and aromatic spices exists here, in our very own backyard. Enter the Spice and Tea Exchange, nestled downtown in the middle of Main Street. 

Pulling open the front doors invites a journey for the senses: displays abundant with clear glass jars housing colorful contents; a strong aroma of fragrant spices wafting through the air; and a soft bubbling noise emanating from the tea dispensers in the back, which contain the week’s newest selections.

The Spice & Tea Exchange is a franchise that has been in business for about 16 years, growing out of a mom-and-pop store, said store owner Pam Robinson.

“This is the 92nd store to open,” Robinson said. “We’re part of a franchise out of St. Augustine, Florida.”

The store here in New Canaan opened about eight weeks ago to a soft opening—however, a grand opening is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Friday and continue through the weekend. 

The grand opening offers a number of incentives, including sales, a BOGO (buy one get one free) deal, scratch-off tickets, and a chance to receive a free tote bag.

“Friday we’re doing 20% off all of our salts and our sugars, Saturday is 20% off our custom blends, Sunday is 10% off our teas,” Robinson said. “Friday and Saturday you can buy one 16oz either hot or cold tea at the tea bar and get one free – that’s kind of like happy hour from 3 to 5. We’re also going to be giving away a tote bag with a mini Florida Sunshine Grinder for the first 10 people each day who spend $10 or more. We also have scratch-off tickets that will be handed out every single day and people can either use them then or they can come back. They’re gonna be good all the way through the end of August.”

Here’s an organized chart of the incentives for those interested in attending the grand opening. 





  • 20% off all salts & sugars
  • BOGO 16 oz hot/cold teas from tea bar (3pm – 5pm)
  • First 10 people who spend $10 or more received a tote bag w/Florida Sunshine Grinder
  • Scratch-off tickets (good until end of Aug.)
  • 20% off all custom blends
  • BOGO 16 oz hot/cold teas from tea bar (3pm – 5pm)
  • First 10 people who spend $10 or more receive a tote bag w/ Florida Sunshine Grinder
  • Scratch-off tickets (good until end of Aug.)
  • 10% of all teas
  • First 10 people who spend $10 or more received a tote bag w/ Florida Sunshine Grinder
  • Scratch-off tickets (good until end of Aug.)

Robinson encourages town members to attend the grand opening. “You can experience something that you wouldn’t get anywhere else,” she said. “You can open every single jar in our store.  We have everything from infused salts and sugars, to over 70 teas and 85 custom blends that we hand mix here in house.”

“It’s an experience,” Robinson added. “People can learn a lot about the different teas that we have. It’s not like just going into the supermarket where you can’t open a jar and smell something.”

Robinson said she guarantees that every glass jar in the store represents the highest quality and ingredients.  

“Our main office down in St. Augustine has people that make sure to source the highest ingredients,” she said. “It’s not like we’re going to use something that is low class or low quality.”

For Robinson and her husband, co-owner John, opening a jar in the store is like opening a portal to different countries and places across the world.  

“A lot of our teas come from China, our matcha comes from Japan, our hibiscus comes from Egypt, we make out olive oils win conjunction with an olive tree Garden in Italy – that they do exact for us – our honeys that we sell come from the Carolinas and our maple syrups come from Vermont,” she said.

“It’s a lot of local, small businesses that the company works with, supporting each other too,” Robinson added.

Asked about the best products to purchase here, Robinson provided a list of favorites. 

“Right now, because it’s summer, my favorite tea is our Berry Bouquet – which we happen to have right now in our bubbler at the tea bar. It’s sweet without adding any sweetener to it, it’s that perfect summer berry flavor and there’s no caffeine so you can have it all day,” she said.

“Now if you were to ask me what’s your favorite custom blend, that’s another story,” she added. Robinson noted that she has an onion obsession (it says that on her name tag too).

“Oh, it is my favorite,” she said. “I love using it for making a dip or putting it on chicken or vegetables. It’s very versatile.”

“If you were to ask in terms of sugar, I like the vanilla turbinado. I use it on cookies, I use it on ice cream. I also put it in coffee.” 

Robinson said that feedback for the new store has been strong in the early weeks. 

“People are very excited because it’s something unique,” she said. “We don’t have anything else like this in town and they miss the fact that they previously didn’t have a place they can go and pick up a birthday gift – they want to try something new. Maybe they’re a new cook or they have a child going off to college and getting their first apartment … We’ve had some wonderful feedback. A lot of people are trying new things they’ve never had before. It’s definitely opened people’s eyes.”

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