Sophie Bolich

Urbal Tea Temporarily Closes Cafe

Tea company pausing cafe services to focus on production. Special events will continue.

By - Apr 15th, 2024 02:57 pm
Site of Urbal Tea, 3060 S. 13th St. Photo taken July 19, 2021 by Jeramey Jannene.

Site of Urbal Tea, 3060 S. 13th St. Photo taken July 19, 2021 by Jeramey Jannene.

The back room at Urbal Tea is a garden graveyard.

Just a few steps beyond the polished, public-facing cafe, a production space is crammed with buckets of tea blends and bags of dried herbs — chamomile, mint, sage, rosemary.

Stainless steel tables hold scales and mixing bowls, while a binder ring of recipes is slung over one of the shelves, its large print clearly legible from across the room.

Customers might be most familiar with the cafe, which faces bustling Oklahoma Avenue. But, as owner Nick Nowaczyk says, “our business is really in the back.”

The company, which makes its own herbal tea blends, has its sights set on big growth in 2024, with plans to strengthen its wholesale presence and expand production.

In the meantime, the cafe, 3060 S. 13th St., will remain closed for regular hours. It will, however, continue to host private events, workshops, tea socials and other planned gatherings.

The cafe began its hiatus at the end of March, said Nowaczyk, who began blending and selling his own teas more than a decade ago. He told Urban Milwaukee that he chose to pause operations in order to focus on tea production, which is the “bread and butter” of the business.

“We’ve been so busy. It’s been a lot to balance.”

With growth as a goal, Nowaczyk said he’s still working out the finer details. “It’s kind of a work in progress,” he said, noting that long-term possibilities could include an expansion or a new location.

Either way, he said, space is a major factor.

For now, Nowaczyk is focused on partnering with distributors and keeping up with demand. The latter will be simpler, he said, once the company acquires more equipment. In particular, a second tea-bag-filling machine; the contraption portions hand-mixed tea blends into plant-based sachets.

As Urbal prepares to, er, turn over a new leaf, the company remains rooted in its core mission to provide quality, small-batch tea blends with good flavor and plentiful health benefits, Nowaczyk said.

It’s the same thing he’s been doing since he first discovered a passion for herbal remedies in the early 2000s. At that time, he was studying under an herbalist in Madison with the goal of becoming a master herbalist — and he later did.

Nowaczyk initially worked out of a commercial kitchen space in West Allis, making blends and selling them at area markets. He moved the business into the southside building in 2019 and opened the cafe in 2021.

“I wanted to create healthy, stronger flavored and more fresh-tasting blends of herbs. The approach was inside-out — you think about what kind of ailments or what kind of benefits you’re looking to promote and to offer, and also listen to customers about what they’re looking for.”

Urbal currently offers more than 20 unique blends including selections for stress, digestion and sleep.

“We’re not just a reseller of tea,” Nowaczyk said. “We make our own blends … it just shows the care and the respect we have for the plants and also for our customers, to give them the best, highest-quality product.”

Urbal Tea blends are available for purchase online or at commercial businesses such as cafes, spas and grocery stores including Sendik’s Food Markets. And Nowaczyk is looking to expand that list.

“Putting [Urbal] on the map is my focus at the moment,” he said, adding that he may look into reopening the cafe full-time come fall, just in time for the holiday season.

Businesses interested in partnering with Urbal can reach out to Nowaczyk at

For information about upcoming special events, keep an eye on the Urbal Tea Facebook and Instagram pages. Updates are also posted to the company’s website.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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