Issa Rae, TAZO Launch ‘Cafe Collective’ to Support Local Cafes and the Tea Drinks They Serve

Teamaker TAZO and entrepreneur, producer and actress Issa Rae launched the TAZO Cafe Collective in celebration of local, independent cafes* and the innovative lattes and tea drinks they serve to their communities.

TAZO is now seeking innovative local and independent cafes in the United States to join TAZO Cafe Collective and create bold new tea and latte drinks with TAZO Chai Concentrate and TAZO Iced Passion Concentrate.

Cafes selected by TAZO to join the program will receive funding and marketing support from TAZO to help their businesses thrive, plus free and discounted product.

“When I was just getting my start, community cafes were spaces where I found inspiration for some of my favorite stories,” said Issa Rae, co-owner of Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen. “Now, as a cafe owner, I’m excited to join TAZO to support more of these spaces and the communities they inspire.”

Rae’s Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen is the TAZO Cafe Collective’s founding partner.

TAZO Cafe Collective - Issa Rae - Tea
Issa Rae and TAZO (Photo: Courtesy of TAZO)

To mark the launch of the initiative, Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen released Rae’s TAZO Passion Twist, a refreshing iced drink now served in all Hilltop locations.

Tea enthusiasts can access Rae's signature drink recipe – made with TAZO Iced Passion mix – to recreate the beverage at home. The recipe – as well as all the details about the TAZO Café Collective – can be found at

“For as long as we can remember, cafes are core to the communities they serve," said Ajay Relan, Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen co-owner. "They are a conduit for creativity and connection. At Hilltop, our goal is to leave our patrons better than we found them. Shout out to TAZO for highlighting businesses like ours across the country and reminding us that we’re all in this, together.”

RELATED: Create a Memorable In-Store Experience at Your Tea Shop, Teahouse or Café, Elevate Your Marketing Strategy

Investing in Independent and Local Cafes

The TAZO Cafe Collective is the latest initiative in TAZO’s journey to challenge the status quo to better society and regenerate communities from within, representing a $250,000+ commitment to invest in local and independent cafes.

“Local cafes are vital to communities—they’re where great ideas happen and where innovative drinks are served,” said Galila Gray, TAZO brand purpose and content lead. “They take care in serving their neighborhoods, just like TAZO takes care in crafting distinct, delicious tea blends. We’re excited to see what we make together.”

Saumya Mishra, vice president of marketing, Lipton Teas and Infusions North America, said, “TAZO is the leading chai concentrate brand. Our portfolio of iced tea and latte mixes create a range of experiences for everybody’s taste buds and are an essential tool for creating exciting beverages in cafes and at home.”

TAZO’s portfolio of iced tea and latte mixes are available in grocers and retail stores nationwide. Cafes interested in joining the TAZO Cafe Collective can learn more and apply at the website for the initiative.

*TAZO defines an independent restaurant as a small and/or locally owned business that is not associated by any corporate chain and is run by the owner(s). The owner of the restaurant has the decision-making authority over all restaurant operations. It may have several locations.

To learn more about TAZO, visit To learn more about Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, visit

Don’t Miss the Weekly World Tea News eNewsletter! Get your free subscription, if you’re not already subscribed, by clicking here.

Plan to Attend or Participate in World Tea Expo, March 18-20, 2024

To learn about other key developments, trends, issues, hot topics and products within the global tea community, plan to attend World Tea Expo, March 18-20, 2024 in Las Vegas, co-located with Bar & Restaurant Expo. Visit

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the World Tea Conference + Expo, or to enquire about advertising and sponsorship opportunities at World Tea News, contact:

Ellainy Karaboitis-Christopoulos
Business Development Manager, Questex
Phone: +1-212-895-8493
Email: [email protected]

Also, be sure to stay connected with World Tea Expo on social media for details and insights about the event. Follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.