I recently won an instagram giveaway from The Tea Spot. Not only did I get my favorite tea, I also got their cool tshirt :)
I was able to speak with Mary Allard of The Tea Spot!
1) What is your favorite tea?
Like so many tea lovers, that can be a hard question to answer as it depends on so many things. The first whole leaf tea that captured me was Gyokuro. Recently, I am head over heels for Darjeeling.
2) Can you tell me a little bit about The Tea Spot and the story behind it being founded?
The Tea Spot was founded in 2004 by Maria Uspenski, a cancer survivor drawn to the health benefits of whole leaf tea during her recovery. Her message is simple and powerful: tea in its freshest form renders premium flavor and unmatched health benefits. Our innovative Steepware products are designed and developed so as to encourage and enable tea drinkers to infuse the goodness of whole leaf tea into their everyday, seamlessly. With a steadfast mission to foster health and wellness through tea, The Tea Spot donates ten percent of all sales in-kind to cancer and community wellness programs. To date, they have supported over 100 organizations and touched more than 10,000 lives. The Tea Spot is a Colorado-based Certified B Corp, woman-owned and operated philanthropic business.
3) What's the most interesting story you have from working in the tea industry?
A great story is the story of how our Climber's High Tea came about.
Tea is, of course, the traditional go-to caffeinated beverage in the Himalayan Mountain region. Just as every village in India has its own chai recipe, so does every Sherpa family in Nepal have their own, and usually proprietary, “mountain” chai blend.
Many studies have pointed to tea’s ability to fight depression - largely due to the presence of the amino acid L-Theanine. Tea, by the way, is only one of 2 known plants with this AA - the other is a mushroom. A more specific published medical field study on nine male and four female climbers at Mt. Everest base camp also concluded that drinking tea had a positive effect on the climbers’ mood. The research showed that the subjects who drank hot brewed tea as a major part of fluid intake at 18,000 ft showed no evidence of increased dehydration from drinking the caffeinated beverage. In addition, the climbers reported feeling less fatigued when tea was included in their diets - all important benefits for high altitude climbers.
A multiple-time Everest climber (customer of ours) liked our chai, but told us he wished he could get an extraordinary tea he’d had on one of his himalayan climbing expeditions, the only thing that ever got him to adapt more rapidly to high altitude. I was so intrigued by this, that I asked him for contact info and eventually came into contact with a very well known Everest climber (who has asked we not used his name!) who fortunately had gone through the lengths to get the “formula” from his Sherpas for a tea which he also insisted helped him adjust to thehigh altitude of base camp. It’s our most complicated blend (by a long shot!) with 21 ayurvedic herbs and spices, and tastes somewhat like a zippy chai. This tea contains every tea type including Pu’erh, and we add green Yerba Mate to ours, for a little extra zip.
Climber’s High is our highest-energy blend. We’ve never tested the tea at very high altitude ourselves, but climbers going on expeditions in South America often buy pounds of Climbers High and Red Rocks (for re-hydration) from us. We all offer it to out-of-state visitors who come to Colorado from sea-level. Our personal preferred ways to drink this tea is chai-style (Cambric or Latte-style), or chilled. This tea does not cold-brew very effectively, and does need to be steeped with hot water, at least as hot as water can get at 20,000 feet - about 175F.
4) Where did the idea for the new shirt come from?
Being a Colorado company, it was hard to resist. We just had to make a Colorado Tea Spot shirt, the flag and our logo were meant to be paired.
5) I often feel like in the US, coffee reins #1 in beverages BUT I think tea is on the rise. Do you think tea will ever surpass coffee in popularity?
You are right, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, second to water, but in the U.S. it is under coffee, soda, orange juice, apple juice, beer, and milk... (not necessarily in order) It is our goal to continue to change tea's rank within the U.S. Hopefully Steepware will continue to make it so easy to drink quality, whole leaf tea, that there will be no excuse, and the continued traction it is getting with all of the incredible health benefits tea has to offer, will propel it forward more and more.
6) What is your favorite tea pun?!
From the late dear friend of our owner, Deven Shah, "If at first you don't succeed, chai chai again."
I've been into Chai recently. I've had the red hot chai at my local tea shop. Most chai teas I've had have a black tea base but this one has a rooibos base. I love the combination of the rooibos and the vanilla.
One of my favorite parts of drinking tea is all the wonderful fragrances! This tea has one of the best fragrances I've ever smelled and that's why I enjoyed it so much.
Stay tuned for another post about other Tea Spot teas :)
What's your favorite Tea Spot tea?