When culinary arts teacher Jill Halterman started seeing students with Crave bubble/boba teas at school, she decided to learn more about the trendy drinks for when she would be teaching a unit about beverages in the industry.
“I thought boba tea would be a favorite with my students, so I called Crave Nutrition for help and advice,” she said. “I have never made boba or fruit teas, and they generously volunteered to donate 155 boba tea kits for all of my students to make on the day of the beverage lab.”
Rose Ahuatzi and her boyfriend, Edwin Flores, became the owners of Crave Nutrition in downtown Seymour last year. They also own a Crave Nutrition in Shelbyville. Kevin Zarate, manager of the shop in Seymour, helped Ahuatzi with the tea lab Wednesday at the high school.
Ahuatzi said Halterman had contacted her for information about bubble tea, and that’s what sparked the partnership.
“I spoke with Edwin about it and we thought donating the tea would be an opportunity to say thanks to the students because a lot of our clientele are the students, their parents and families,” she said. “Also, the teacher, Mrs. Halterman, truly cares about the class and has put a lot of thought into this.”
Ahuatzi told the class of freshman students how the bubble/boba teas are their most popular items and talked about the benefits of the main ingredients: Aloe, which helps the digestive system and helps soothe the stomach and is good for those with acid reflux; B-12 vitamin that supports brain function, accelerates memory recall and helps reduce the feeling of mental fatigue; and herbal tea, formulated with caffeine, which jump-starts your metabolism and provides a boost to help you feel revitalized.
Ahuatzi did a demonstration to show the students how to make Blue Lagoon bubble tea, containing lemon-lime, pineapple, coconut and blue raspberry flavors.
“The tea overall is under 60 calories and only 6 grams of sugar, and it’s awesome and it’s a healthier version of an average boba tea, which can have over 500 calories,” she said.
Halterman said the tea in the lab smelled so good with the coconut and pineapple, she felt like she was on a tropical island vacation.
After the tea making lab, students split up into six different kitchen areas to create other beverages with one drink recipe per group, including Arnold Palmer, rainbow sherbet punch, hot cocoa, iced coffee, horchata and yogurt berry smoothie.
Student MaKaylynn Lynch said sometimes, she and her sister go to Crave and like to get the Sea Turtle drink.
Nevaeh Harrison said she liked how her tea tasted after she made it.
Another student in the class, Keely Wagoner, said she liked how the staff from Crave came to their class and wanted to support the high school students.
“It was interesting when they told us how the tea helps us and the benefits from it,” Wagoner said.
Some things she likes about the culinary class in general is how she gets to work with others and the way they work together in groups to socialize. She also enjoys how they get to make different foods and taste test a lot.
Emmy Munson said she liked the tea lab because of the networking aspect and how the people from Crave came to their class and showed them how to do it.
“It was really fun to do this as a class and learn what they do whenever we go in,” Munson said. “I go there a lot, usually for the tea, and I’m on the basketball team. We all like to go there.”
She said other things they’ve tried in the class is make cookies, pretzels and other foods.
“This class is fun, I really like it and the teacher is super nice, too,” Munson said.
Halterman has taught at the high school for five years, teaching principles of hospitality management, the beginning course for the culinary arts pathway.
Students can then continue into the second year of culinary arts and the different food units they have studied.
“A big unit that sets the foundation is safety and sanitation, and students study ServSafe and how to keep themselves and consumers safe in the food industry,” Halterman said. “Around Thanksgiving, students worked together in their lab groups to prepare a whole Thanksgiving meal and sat down as a class family and enjoyed it together.”
So far, students have studied soups and stocks and have made homemade potato soup for the class.
“We also studied table service and the positions in a restaurant by making and serving personal pan pizzas to each other,” Halterman said. “Upcoming lessons are condiments, spices and herbs, sandwiches, pizzas and desserts. Students will study the employability skills that come along in this pathway.”