By Rose Luna
Killeen Daily Herald
It's not your average tea and crumpets kind of cottage. Bea's Tea Cottage in Killeen offers more than just a hot drink and pastry.
Owner Bea Harper greets each of her customers personally before seating them in the 12-seat dining area.
After looking through a menu that includes sandwiches with ingredients fresh from the market, Harper will pour a symbolic "holy spirit" from her "TEAPOT" – an acronym for thirsty, edify, anointed, praise, obeying, truth – and minister on the word of God.
"I've hosted many tea parties, and people seem to love the teapot ministry more," Harper said.
"Once you have been blessed meeting and being ministered to by Mrs. Bea, you too will agree she has a sweet spirit of hospitality and heart for others," said Christina Kitto, who wrote the Herald about her experience at Bea's Tea Cottage. "The Tea Cottage itself is cozy and very relaxing."
Harper's passion for tea and ministry began in the 1970s when she was the wife of a commanding sergeant major, Raymond Harper. She constantly planned and hosted tea parties for other military wives.
"Hospitality was my specialty," Harper said.
After spending five years performing community outreach projects, Harper decided to combine her love for teapots and hospitality and open a tea cottage.
"It took a while to open, because we were looking for a small, intimate place," Harper said. "I like keeping it small. If we were to expand, we would add locations, not space."
The dining room in Bea's Tea Cottage is encompassed by a mural of a spring landscape painted by local artist Miguel Costo.
Harper's offers flavored black teas that include apple spice, fruits of the forest, holiday spice, jasmine, lemon, mango, peach, raspberry, tangerine and peach, and vanilla. Other teas that are served include cinnamon black, earl gray tea, English breakfast tea, white tea and Darjeeling tea.
For those who want caffeine-free tea, Harper offers peppermint, chamomile and black currant herbal teas.
With daily lunch specials starting at $5.50 and breakfast bagels for $1, Bea's Tea Cottage tends to fill up fast but Harper will try to fit seats where she can.
"Customer care is my number one priority," Harper said. "I'm always eager to work with clients and their specific needs."
Harper provides customized formal and informal tea parties for birthday, bridal showers, anniversaries, meetings and Bible studies.
In the future, she intends on specializing in wedding parties for the bride, mother and future mother-in-law.
Harper has also filled the front room of the tea cottage with unique gifts and, of course, teapots and flavored teas.
Contact Rose Luna at email@example.com or call 501-7469