Rollins Becomes Inspiration for a New Tea Blend

March 25, 2011

Pearl of the South

Burke also had a hand in the creation of the logo for Pearl of the South. The design is based off a combination of sketches by Shane Overstreet (Class of 2011), that incorporated native plant life designs on a tea cup, and Burke’s photograph of a sunset over Lake Virginia that she proudly displays on the wall in the café.

Thanks to Barbara Burke and a local tea shop, Rollins can now be enjoyed in tea form. Dubbed Pearl of the South, the signature blend captures the flavor of Rollins through an infusion of ingredients intended to satisfy students’ thirst while providing a wallop of antioxidants and vitamins.

A barista at the Bookmark Café, Burke does more than simply fill orders. She is also the mastermind responsible for the popular Bagel Bar and loose leaf tea stand, and she was the impetus for this new gourmet treasure.

“Loose leaf tea was selling well, and I decided that Rollins needed its own blend of tea. Pearl of the South is Rollins’ nickname, and I thought, ‘It truly is,’” said Burke, explaining the origin of the idea and the name.

After the idea came to her, Burke started collaborating with library Circulation Specialist Shawne Keevan (Class of 2001 ’08MLS). Keevan and her husband, Bill, co-own the Olde Cup & Saucer Tea Room & Shoppe, which provides several of the loose leaf teas for the Bookmark.

With help from Keevan and the Olde Cup & Saucer, Burke next turned her focus to the taste. The original vision was a tea made entirely with native Florida ingredients, but while in the midst of blending ingredients, they decided to focus on the flavor instead.

"Generally, the process begins with a clear idea, be it a certain flavor or color,” said Keevan. “In the case of Pearl of the South, we tried several different ideas before we hit on the final formulation, ranging from magnolia oolong to a Florida fruit-and-flower green tea to a Park Avenue-inspired variation of Earl Grey. After a lot of trial and error, we worked out a combination of floral jasmine pearls, deep red hibiscus for tartness and color, and rooibos for body and sweetness."

The cranberry-colored beverage packs a pleasant punch that was a big hit at a mystery tasting at the Olde Cup & Saucer. Served either hot or iced, the tea tastes like a floral-flavored nectar with an edge.

“Oh, it’s really good!” said Laura Fox (Class of 2011), after taking her first sip. “It tastes like a strawberry-cranberry, fruity tea. It’s not too sugary, [and it’s] very light and refreshing.”

Pearl of the South is now available for your drinking pleasure on campus at the Bookmark Café in the Olin Library and at the Olde Cup & Saucer located at 931 North State Road 434, Suite 1135 in Altamonte Springs.

By Jennifer Ritter (Class of 2013)

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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