My name is Frankee Muller, and I am a tea addict.
My story starts when I was first introduced to Afternoon Tea in 1983 when I visited Botswana for the first time. I was on a photographic safari with my family. I fell in love with Africa on that trip--as well as with our guide, Bruce Muller. Shortly thereafter I moved to Botswana to take over the catering for Bruce’s safari camp. We—and all of the other safari camps—served afternoon tea daily before the afternoon game drive. This is a custom we brought with us to Bozeman, Montana, in 1989 when we bought the Voss Inn bed and breakfast.
At the Voss Inn we would always get out the fine china and I would bake an assortment of goodies to serve to our guests each afternoon promptly at 4:00. It was a wonderful way for us to get to know our guests and vice versa. In my quest for new ideas and recipes I bought numerous books on the subject of afternoon tea, including books on the history of tea. I guess you could say that before long I became quite the tea snob. It quickly became clear to me that one could not order tea in a restaurant or coffee shop and expect to get anything even remotely resembling a cup of properly brewed tea. All tea was bagged and there was never any concern about water temperature!
In 2005 we opened the HomePage Cafe. It was the perfect opportunity for us to offer Bozeman the traditional afternoon tea experience. We taught our baristas the finer points of brewing tea—including how to boil water! It wasn’t long before a number of tea drinkers discovered us, but for the most part the HomePage was considered to be primarily a coffee shop. We ordered a wide variety of teas from high end wholesalers such as Numi, Rishi and Choice. But the tea thing just didn’t take off the way we had hoped.
Then in January 2010 I received an email from Chas Kroll, the Executive Director of the International Tea Masters Association announcing his course in tea mastery. Chas had actually been our first supplier of tea when we first opened the Café. He sold his tea business, Royal Dynasty Teas, shortly after we opened, and started the American Tea Masters Association. We had kept in touch over the years and his course caught my eye last time he offered it, but for some reason this time it just seemed like something I could not pass up. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!
I thought I knew a lot about tea before. Now all these years later, I think one of the most significant things I’ve learned is that tea is a life-long journey. My Tea Master certification has set me on my way to what promises to be an exciting perpetual exploration! I now have a thirst for tea that I never expected! The rare, handcrafted, artisan teas that we bring to you today are of a caliber up to now unavailable in Bozeman, MT, and in many cases anywhere else in the United States (including our new home in Oriental, NC, where we just moved in November 2018.) I look forward to sharing them with you here.
So, please join us on our journey, and let us quench your thirst!
ITMA Certified Tea Master