Date: December 30, 2015 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
The owners of Fayetteville’s Alchemy macarons and tea shop have the art of tastefulness down to a science
It’s not every day that a member of a hard rock band decides to trade in his drumsticks and world-tour schedule for a mixer and a quaint and charming downtown shop. “I have definitely gone from one extreme to the other,” says Oliver Crumpton, co-owner of Alchemy Macarons and Tea. And, while the change did not occur overnight, it seems to have been a smooth and welcome transition—not only for Crumpton, but also for the hundreds of customers who pour into his Northwest Arkansas store each week.
“I toured the world for 12 years with my band and went to a ton of different restaurants and coffee shops through the years,” he says. “I really wanted to bring something here that people hadn’t seen before, and Fayetteville has such a welcoming atmosphere for small businesses.” Crumpton, who has lived in the Northwest Arkansas city since high school, co-owns the shop—which opened in July—with his wife, Adrienne, and his parents Stan and Eleanor Crumpton. “I chose the macarons and tea specifically because my family was also interested in these, and it was something we could all work at together,” he adds.
Crumpton knew the task of perfecting macarons—one of the most notoriously fickle and difficult-to-make pastries—wouldn’t be easy. He and his mother spent close to a year baking batch after batch to learn the technique and develop different flavors and fillings. “That’s how we came up with the name Alchemy: it takes a magic laboratory to make these,” Crumpton laughs.
Today, the shop has approximately 40 different flavors in rotation on the menu. On any given day you can find staples such as Razorback Red Velvet, Birthday Cake, and Pistachio in the lineup alongside other seasonal favorites and newcomers. “For weddings, we offer a [macaron] tower, where they sit on their sides, making it easy to pull them off the tray. We also do custom colors and flavors for couples—really anything you want, we can do it,” he says.
“My wife is a huge tea drinker, and that’s one of the reasons we decided to bring in that element,” Crumpton says. “We wanted a small selection, and we wanted them all to be outstanding,” he says of the tea offerings. The design of Alchemy’s tea wall—where customers are encouraged to sample the scents of the different teas—and the actual brewing containers themselves were both inspired by the chemistry theme of the business. The tea wall features beakers filled with loose leaves of Alchemy’s offerings. The brewing system, which is made to loosely resemble a Bunsen burner, operates like a pour-over bar at a coffee shop, with stands that were custom built by Crumpton. Staff members put the loose leaves into the tea infuser, pour hot water over the top, and allow it to steep before pouring the perfect cup for each customer. “We wanted it to be an experience that you are wowed by,” Crumpton says. From the colorful rows of macarons that fill the counter to the aroma of the fresh-brewed teas, we think you’ll agree the family’s “experiment” is everything they intended and more.
Alchemy Macarons and Tea, 112 West Center Street, Fayetteville, (479) 790-6502, alchemymacarons.com