Antioch couples Miguel and Arlene Cerda and Ed and Melissa Lozano, along with Brentwood couple Robert and Gail Fabricante, have teamed up to bring their love of Italian ice creams and quality teas to Brentwood with a shop that opened last November.
Melissa, Gail, and Arlene grew up together in Concord and entertained the idea of owning a business together as adults. “We had this dream of opening our own business one day,” Melissa said. “We never knew what it would be or what niche we’d fit into, but we always thought it would be a fun idea.”
Years later, the girls, along with their husbands, got together regularly to feast on Arlene’s homemade gelato, and the idea slowly became a vision. After Arlene won a prize at the Brentwood CornFest for one of her confections, it seemed like a gelato shop was in their destiny.
However, the formula wasn’t complete. While there were no places in the area that specifically served their favorite dessert, there was also something else missing in this area: boba teas with tapioca pearls, a popular form of tea from Taiwan.
Over the next two years, the three couples met regularly to map out their business. Robert became certified by the Specialty Tea Institute, and the couples hired a “true artisan gelato maker” who was trained in Italy to help the team perfect their gelato recipes.
While Taste Tea Gelato is now up and running and the dream has become a reality, the six business partners still work full time at other jobs – but whenever they have free time, they’re at the shop.
On Thursdays, Melissa comes in during her lunch break to host story time for younger patrons. Story time begins at 11 a.m., followed by an art activity. Once a month, Melissa hopes to share an ice cream story with the kids and afterward the gaggle of kiddies can make their own gelato.
“We make our gelato fresh daily,” Melissa said. “One batch takes about 45 minutes, so we can do story time and make a new flavor. Then I hope to take a picture of the kids to put on display to show that they helped make a flavor that day.”
Taste Tea Gelato is open to customer feedback. While there are 24 flavors of gelato available on any given day, Melissa said the team is always thinking of new ideas. They unveil a new flavor about once a week. One of the recent creations, banana crème, was based on a customer’s request.
“We want to satisfy our customers, so we’re always looking for feedback,” Melissa said. “We want to grow with the community, so we want to know what people like. When we try a new flavor, we offer samples to see how the customers respond and then we add it to our rotation if people like it.”
The most popular flavors are strawberry, hazelnut, pistachio, grapefruit and lemoncello. While it’s tough to choose, patrons are welcome to sample as many flavors as they like until they know which one they’d like to savor. And if you simply can’t pick one, go for the Gelato Sampler, which gives you six flavors on a platter for $7.95. It’s perfect for people who love gelato or just can’t make up their mind.
On the tea side of things, Taste Tea Gelato offers more than 30 teas. All teas are loose leaf and prepared in tea pots. While tea is prepared, customers are educated about the art of making tea and the health benefits of drinking tea.
You can make a visit to Taste Tea Gelato an entire experience by ordering a sandwich or a bowl of soup to go with your tea, and before you leave, you might as well get dessert. After all, gelato does have less fat than regular ice cream, so go ahead and treat yourself.
Taste Tea Gelato is located at 6560 Lone Tree Way, Suite B, in Brentwood. It’s open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 925-626-7644 or visit Taste Tea Gelato online.