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Kava-licious!

Muddy Lotus Tea
By: R. Jill Fink, MFA

“Be like a lotus. Let the beauty of your heart speak. Be grateful to the mud, water, air and the light.” Amit Ray

Each year, the Marion County area improves through the valiant efforts of our dedicated citizens and leaders. Ocala just got even more amazing. Welcome Kibbie, Sonya, and the spectacular staff at Muddy Lotus Tea, our very first and only ethnobotanical tea and coffee bar. They offer up a beautiful, alcohol-free space for anyone 18 and over who wishes to relax or recharge.

Five years ago, the dream of opening a kava bar started for Kibbie and her partner, Sonya Ritchie After scouring the state, they decided upon our fair city for the location of their store. They chose the 100-year-old building standing at 520 NE 1st Avenue, and a massive renovation transformed the dilapidated structure into something welcoming, peaceful and wondrous. Immediately upon entering, one can feel the calm interior taking them in. There are chalk walls to draw upon, a few interesting hand-painted Star Wars™ figures, a Matrix wall, and a back room for darts and other games. The main room features super-comfortable leather chairs and couches, a floor that emulates water, a “bubble wall,” and of course, the enticing bar itself.

The kavatenders at Muddy Lotus Tea can serve you a variety of diverse, handcrafted drinks created to order. Try the Kava; it’s widely known as “nature’s stress remedy” as it can have a calming effect. It is said to reduce anxiety and insomnia by influencing GABA receptors and stimulating dopamine receptors.

Kava is an all-natural, plant root-based product that normally has a bit of a bitter taste, but it can be flavored with an endless array of ingredients to make tasty combinations. One of the most popular drinks available is the “Nut Job;” a delicious, cold-pressed hazelnut decaf coffee with handcrafted, infused kava. They follow tradition by massaging the oils out of the kava, so you’re getting a pure experience with the best quality ingredients available.

Kratom is another menu choice; it can be ingested as a pre-workout energizer or to reduce stress, anxiety and pain. The “vein” types are available; green, white and red. The kratom at Muddy Lotus Tea is a pure leaf and not an extract or a synthetic. This herbal supplement is indigenous to Southeast Asia and Thailand; it has been consumed there for over five hundred years. It is sometimes used to increase productivity or even boost the immune system. I highly recommend the Orange Lotus, a delectable and not-too-sweet drink made with French vanilla coconut creamer. We also tried the amazing Organic Apple Kratom flavored with French vanilla coconut creamer and a dash of organic cinnamon.

The Cacao Shot was pure organic cacao with a bit of maple syrup. Not only was it divinely chocolatey without being overwhelmingly sweet, it was also full of iron and minerals. Who said supplements had to taste bad?

Several kombucha drinks are also available at Muddy Lotus Tea. This increasingly popular fermented tea is seeing quite a resurgence in the last two years. Popular, yet not very tasty back in the late 90s, the organic kombucha served nowadays comes in many flavor choices. Try it for its antioxidant and probiotic qualities.

Other beverages available are Dirty Lemonade, infused with charcoal for detoxification; hot chocolate, orange juice, ginger ale and lots of kava and kratom shots. Every drink at Muddy Lotus Tea is vegan; they even use vegan whipped creams and flavorings.

They also serve cold brewed, nitro-infused coffee; nitrous oxide drastically reduces the bitterness of coffee. They filter all of the water that goes into the drinks, ice, and even the water used to wash cups, utensils and equipment. Their plastic cups and straws are compostable and their paper goods are recycled and biodegradable.

Senior citizens, Veterans, Service Industry, Marion County Public School employees and City of Ocala employees can enjoy a 10% discount at any time; first responders get 50% off their order. Donate a coat to get a free drink or a pair of socks for the homeless and get 20% off your check. They also offer yoga classes on Saturday mornings, a live DJ and fire-spinning (poi) on Saturday nights, and many more community-minded events throughout the week. Check their Facebook page or their Instagram for all of the current happenings.

As owner/operators of Leather Solutions and being in the high end leather restoration business for over 30 years, Kibbie and Sonya wanted to do even more to help make a long-lasting difference in people’s lives. They have graciously and humbly provide a safe, calm and gorgeous space for all of us to enjoy and a way that we can connect with each other through acceptance. Surround yourself with wonderful music and restful lighting while you enjoy fantastic drinks, great service, and caring people. Stop in today to experience the vibe at Muddy Lotus Tea; your body and mind will thank you for it. Om

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