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Muddy Lotus Tea: A New Taste Treat Emerges Like Magic

Apr 30, 2019 03:37PM ● By Martin Miron

Muddy Lotus Tea is an alcohol-free ethnobotanical tea specialty bar in Downtown Ocala. They serve kava, coffee, kombucha and exotic teas, in addition to drinks, oral supplements and THC-free edibles containing cannabidiol (CBD).


Kibbie Fulton and Sonya Ritchie are the owners. Fulton holds a Level 1 Plant-Based Food Chef certificate from Matthew Kenney, a world-renowned plant-based chef. Ritchie has been a certified yoga instructor in aerial, chair, yin, and hatha-based styles for more than six years. They also own Leather Solutions, which has been in business since 1987, doing leather repair and restoration for mega-yachts and corporate/private jets.


Fulton says, “Five years ago, we decided that we wanted to provide a healthy alternative to alcohol. Being a plant-based chef, I realized we could provide this much-needed service by creating and serving holistic, organic social drinking alternatives. I began researching popular products in the field of ethnobotanical drinks and found that quite a lot of them being served in the current market were of high quality, but I wanted to take it a few steps further. My business partner and I decided that our offerings would be only those of the highest quality and additive-free. We dove in and diligently created our own original recipes. By doing so, we crossed the barrier to a mainstream-style tea, making a once bitter base drink not only palatable, but delicious.”


She explains, “The most important product we serve is kava. This amazing root, which is harvested and dried in the sun, then ground and made into a powder for tea, originates from the South Pacific. Being used by indigenous people for hundreds of years, this tea is purported to be beneficial for ailments such as general anxiety disorder. The active ingredients in kava, called kavalactones, can facilitate a relaxed state. Results vary from individual to individual, and of course, we are not doctors; but we listen to our customers, and most of them relay heartfelt thanks to us daily for what kava does for them. Many of them report that they’ve replaced their longtime habit of resorting to alcohol with kava as a way to socialize and/or deal with their anxiety.” The owners have been actively introducing kava as an alternative to alcohol.


“We are currently the original and only kava bar in the Marion County area. Our customers are like family to us and treat us as such. We host charitable events for the homeless community here in Ocala, hold events in order to collect toys for needy children and support local singers and artists by offering them a free venue to showcase their talents to our many regular, as well as new customers,” says Fulton. “We employ and extensively train our ‘kavatenders’ to be knowledgeable and most of all, highly attentive to our vast variety of customers. We offer 100 percent original recipes and serve them in a calm, inviting and loving space. We also offer discounts to Ocala city employees, Marion County public school employees, first responders, veterans and senior citizens.”


The minority-owned business has turned a dilapidated, 80-year-old-plus building into a beautiful and welcoming space while creating jobs for employees, food service people in the community and local artists. “We are helping to clean up and revive the area and add an asset to the Art District, an area of Ocala to which many like-minded individuals are drawn. We offer drum circles at every full moon and we bring a positive energy to all who visit, advises Fulton. “We held a singing contest that offered a $250 prize and four hours of studio recording time. We offer other fun, free events to bring people together, and are so happy to see our customers gather for game night, karaoke night, or any of our other happenings.”


Muddy Lotus Tea will partner with Rustique Vintage Market to host an outdoor bazaar featuring more than 50 vendors with unique merchandise on May 11, just in time for Mother’s Day. Each Sunday, there will be all-levels yin yoga with a $10 donation.


Muddy Lotus Tea is located at 520 NE 1st Ave., in, Ocala. For more information, call 352-559-3003 or visit