After going low-carb, paleo and keto, Jennifer Wills was desperate for something to drink.
The biggest drawback to the diets was boredom with her beverage options.
“When you can’t eat so many things, you are dying for a treat so you don’t feel left out,” she said.
Her go-to was an extra-large iced passion tea from Starbucks that she’d nurse all day, and green teas she’d brew at home.
“You drink green tea because you are told it’s good for you,” she said. “But it’s not special.”
And at tea shops, the amount of choices would be “overwhelming.”
Wills’ husband Chris Eilers, former CEO of Dunn Brothers Coffee, is a “serial entrepreneur,” Wills said. They teamed up, along with Eilers’ son Sam, and launched a food truck last year devoted just to tea.
“The food truck was a test to see if people would like it,” Wills said. They did. Just a year later, they have taken their concept brick and mortar with a new store in south Minneapolis (4503 France Av. S., Mpls., 612-965-0107, jinxtea.com).
And they’re doing more than brewing leaves to go with scones.
The menu features a tightly curated list of cold-brewed iced teas, cocktail-inspired blends, boba (bubble tea), carbonated tea, kombucha, and a few warm drinks, too.
“It’s a different way of executing tea,” Wills said. “It’s already crafted.”
Most of the teas are kegged and on tap.
Only the hot teas are brewed to order. And there are no tea lattes.
“I wanted the environment to not be filled with screeching, steaming, grinding machines,” Wills said. “It’s more peaceful.”
The bright space has both tables, bar seating along the window, and a comfy chair nook.
Baked goods come from Rustica, and New Generation Bakery in Mora, Minn.
Could Jinx be the next Dunn Brothers? There are no plans to franchise it, but Wills could see room for one at the airport and the Mall of America down the road. The south Minneapolis shop will remain the flagship, where drinks for the food truck and events are made.
Wills sees her teas as a whole new category for thirst-quenching as more people look for alcohol alternatives. Jinx will even fill growlers of their tea concoctions that can be brought to social gatherings.
“We are definitely not for everybody,” she said. “But people just have this understanding: Tea is good for you. It comes from the earth.”