After months of anticipation, HTeaO has been open to the public for a few weeks now, offering a new way for Lafayette residents to experience tea. Located off Kaliste Saloom between Camellia Boulevard and Rue Louis, this is one of those spots that I've been meaning to check out and after being highly recommended by friends, so I finally decided to stop by.

Walking in, I was greeted by high-energy employees who instantly created a unique and refreshing ambiance. It almost felt like a party, and to my surprise, the person welcoming me was one of the owner-operators, Carlton Roussell. Though I didn't know it then, his genuine southern hospitality was unmistakably Louisiana.

HTeaO Lafayette

A common misconception is that HTeaO, a Texas-based franchise (the state is literally outlined in the logo), might not be quite "local." However, Carlton and his wife, Kaylie, are from Lacassine, LA, and, along with their partners, chose Lafayette for their first HTeaO franchise. Kaylie, who grew up in the Acadiana area, was adamant about opening the location here. When the corporate team visited, they noted that while HTeaO customers are typically nice, Louisiana’s warmth and kindness stood out.

It's something that both the Fontenot family (John, Joanna, Judy) and the Roussell family (Carlton and Kaylie) take pride in.

HTeaO is not just another “loaded tea” spot, nor is it the place for traditional hot teas or overly sweet beverages like grandma used to make. Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with any of the places I mentioned, but it's worth noting that HTeaO is in a league of its own. It specializes in iced tea, offering 26 different flavors. As I skipped the drive-thru to explore the inside, I realized I had made the right choice.

The store's layout is unique – no tables or chairs, just a convenient place to grab your drink and go. A wall of tea flavors greeted me, complete with sample cups to mix and match. I opted for the caffeine-free blueberry with a splash of passion fruit tea, avoiding overly sweet options and going for something that would be refreshing in the 90+ degree temperatures outside.

What sets HTeaO apart is its commitment to quality. It uses a reverse osmosis system to purify water and enhance it with minerals, ensuring its tea stands out.

But it wasn’t just the tea that impressed me. Carlton’s dedication to his customers and community was evident. As I soon realized he was in the family portrait on the wall, I recognized his son and wife, both staff members who were also in the image, highlighting that this is a family-owned and run business.

HTeaO Lafayette

High-end brands like Yeti lining the shelves added to the store’s appeal, with snacks and other goodies that complimented the tea offerings and the overall vibe at HTeaO.

HTeaO Lafayette

Many first-time visitors are surprised by the variety of offerings, including amazing coffee. HTeaO is quickly becoming a beloved local spot, and based on my conversation with them, the Roussell family and the Fontenot family are eager to meet more Lafayette folks and grow with the community.

Today, June 10th, is National Iced Tea Day, making it the perfect time to visit HTeaO. They’re celebrating with happy hour pricing all day on all iced tea products – cups, mini gallons, half gallons, and gallons. So, stop by and enjoy some refreshing tea at a special price.

And tell me which flavor is your favorite.

LOOK: 50 Beloved Retail Chains That No Longer Exist

Stacker takes a look at 50 major retail chains that no longer exist and the reasons for their demise.  

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer