When the Bookmark Café opened in the Olin Library a few years ago, it was not expected that it would soon be making Rollins history. Circulation Specialist Shawne Keevan ’01 and Barbara Burke are currently designing a brew that will be unique to Rollins. Burke explained, “I thought it would be advantageous to have its own signature blend of tea and since Rollins is the ‘Pearl of the South,’ that would be the perfect name.” Keevan and her husband Bill own the Olde Cup and Saucer, a small teashop in Altamonte Springs where they serve food and teas, some of which they blend themselves.
Keevan, who works in the library with Burke, began selling loose teas to the café a few years ago so that students and faculty could make their own tea. About a year ago, after all of the Keevans’ teas were being sold in the library, Burke came up with the idea of a Rollins College brew. At first, Keevan thought Burke was kidding, but once it became apparent that she was serious about this endeavor, Keevan got to work planning their business strategy. “It was the first time I’ve ever been approached to make a blend for someone else,” she shared.
While Keevan has not yet decided the flavor of the tea and is still playing around with various ideas, her vision is a tea that is comprised of all Florida ingredients; i.e. oranges, coconuts, magnolias and other things of the like. Regardless of what goes into the tea, this will be a special brew, unique to Rollins. Burke’s main goal is to have this be a 100 percent Rollins item, hoping that the more artistic students will come together to create a logo for the tea. “We need the talented input of Rollins’ students since this is a Rollins tea,” she said.
The tea is due to be presented to the Rollins leadership team in mid-February for approval and everyone is hoping that the tea will pass inspection and be put on the shelves sooner rather than later. The tea will be available for purchase at all Sodexo locations on campus. Burke is thrilled that Keevan has agreed to facilitate this process. “It’s a small business that everyone knows and it promotes local businesses.” Keevan is just looking forward to making Burke’s dream come true, saying, “This is an exciting experience for me.” Hopefully Rollins’ Pearl of the South will be ready to make its debut on campus soon!