Kay Bell: The Face Behind Elm Tea Fest

In 2001, Kay Bell was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than wanting to subject herself to harmful medication, she turned to teas and herbs. During chemotherapy, she began researching peppermint and discovered the incredible health benefits. What started as a fun project soon grew into a hobby and her passion.

“Now, no one in my family takes any medication; Only tea and herbs,” said Bell.

Bell began growing peppermint, and soon had a surplus. She decided to package it and sell it, which led to the creation of her business. Bell started “Cadae Tea” in 2010 in Waco, Texas with just one farming lot and a table at the local farmer’s market.  Now, she has several lots where she farms her tea and has extended her business to several farmer’s markets, a local health store and most recently a tea festival. 

Bell approached Doreen Ravenscroft, founder and president of Cultural Arts of Waco, with the idea to add a tea festival to Art on Elm. Thus, Elm Tea Fest was born. 

“Kay is enthusiastic about the neighborhood and how to keep it healthy and bring more awareness,” said Ravenscroft. “It’s her passion for tea.”

The first Elm Tea Fest took place on April 7, 2018. Unfortunately, the weather was bleak throughout the day, but that did not stop people from coming to support Art on Elm.

“On such a cold day, it became such a pleasing moment that people came out regardless to support us,” said Ravenscroft.

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Houston Tea Festival Facebook page.

Bell’s favorite part of the event was the afternoon high tea. People got to participate in a traditional afternoon tea, complete with scones and clotted cream, while listening to Amanda Vermillion from The Tea Mistress speak.

Both Bell and Ravenscroft were pleased with the outcome of the Elm Tea Fest and how it further advanced Art on Elm’s mission. “The community came together to participate in the afternoon tea,” said Ravenscroft. “A community member gave the clotted cream and Lula Janes gave the scones. That’s what Art on Elm is supposed to personify, that the neighborhood owns it and takes part.”

Though the first Elm Tea Fest was a small event, it was a building block and a step in the right direction. Bell has big visions for Elm Tea Fest, hoping to add more vendors and speakers in the future.

“Tea fascinates me,” said Bell, who looks forward to continuing to sharing her passion for tea and herbs with others through Elm Tea Fest.