Karen Gordon wants people to take a break. Gordon understands that in many cultures, tea is not only refreshing, it's a way of life.
Afternoon tea provides a welcome mid-day respite, and she wants to introduce hardworking Mississippians to something that may shake up their routines: "the whole ritual of having an afternoon time frame that is set aside for nothing more than your mental, physical and spiritual health," she says.
After 30 years of doing administrative work for construction company, Kassel Tile Inc. in Ridgeland, Gordon retired from the 9-to-5 world and opened High Biscuits tearoom in November 2014.
"Originally, I figured I might do something where I fused cultures, something a little edgier, different," Gordon says.
A Mississippi native, Gordon opened her tearoom to introduce a simple way to help people relax and prosper.
She first experienced the tradition of drinking hot afternoon tea, instead of sweetened, iced Lipton, when she traveled to Europe at age 16. Gordon acquired a taste for black Russian tea in Soviet-occupied East Germany where she went for a school trip in 1975.
"It was either that or water, and being from the South, (I and the other students) didn't really drink water," she says. "We drink sweet tea."
Since then, Gordon has attended high teas in Canada, tea ceremonies in Asia and sampled teas from all over the world. She brings her experiences and the sense of stress-free ritual to her shop.
Calming greens, blues and purples drench the well-lit atmosphere of High Biscuits. The backs of the booths are lined with a fabric that Emily Gartner of The Curated Loom patterned after Keith Boyd's watercolor painting "Forever Ago." Music, which can range from country to Mississippi and Louisiana artists (the music changes each day of the week), plays low while chatter and the clinks of spoons against china cups fills the air.
For a hot tea, Gordon recommends Angel Dreams, High Biscuits' house blend, which combines Assam black tea with green tea and features natural maple and blackberry flavors.
But High Biscuits has to more to offer than just tea. The tearoom's menu also has soups, salads, homemade tea cakes and cookies, tarts, quiche and tea sandwiches.
"I have a similar love for Italian coffees and Swiss chocolates," Gordon says, hinting at future menu additions. High Biscuits recently began offering boba tea. Also known as bubble teas, these are typically chilled, fruit-based and contain tapioca pearls. Boba teas provide a cool summer alternative to the many hot teas High Biscuits offers, and customers can create unique boba tea concoctions from 125 flavor combinations.
High Biscuits (7048 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland), is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The shop reserves Saturdays for special events, such as bridal showers, sorority tea times and children's birthday parties. Call 769-300-4948 for more information. See the menu at highbiscuitstea.com, and follow High Biscuits on Facebook.