Chiya and chai


Sandra Benn, Founder

“No matter where you are in the world, you are at home when tea is served” – Earlene Grey

I often get asked: “Why Tea?”

The truth is, there is no one reason – rather, it is a whole blend!

In 2018, I walked away from a three-decade career in banking, ready to try something new. The plan was to go travelling, but family circumstances and a global pandemic put that on pause.

So, I started to ask myself: What do I love to do? And the more I thought about it, the answer was tea.

My passion for tea was brewed at an early age when I would enjoy many over-stewed cups from the pot on my grandparent’s stove. My love for a brew only grew as I began to travel the world. Some of my happiest memories are of drinking local teas across the globe, from Peru’s coca tea to Argentina’s yerba mate, to chai in Nepal and India. All prepared by locals, using their own unique recipes. Looking back at these photos puts a smile on my face as I remember treasured stories and experiences.

Since then, tea has formed a huge part of my own self-care – the flavour is delicious, and the texture and aroma are warming. Paired with a cosy blanket and a good book, to me there is nothing more relaxing.

So, it always comes back to tea.

Sandra Benn

Sandra Benn
Founder of Chiya & Chai

tea tasting

Everyone has a tea story. What does tea mean to you?

There is a certain nostalgia that a cup of tea can bring, evoking memories of family, friends, holidays, or small but meaningful moments in our lives. Tea is about culture. It can be found all around the world. The practise and rituals of preparing tea in each place are individual, and a simple sip can transport you to a different time and place.

Tea also offers a mindful moment. Precious minutes watching the leaves as they unravel in the pot can become your tea ritual, your opportunity for quiet reflection. When all you must do is wait and then savour each drop, the weight of the world can fall off your shoulders.

Enjoy Old Favourites – Or Discover New Ones

I can vividly remember an afternoon tea experience where I was shown a catalogue of tea options, with absolutely no idea what would pair well with my food. Overwhelmed by choice and afraid of embarrassing myself in front of a knowledgeable waiter, I stayed quiet and selected a classic Earl Grey.

This experience has formed the heart of my business.

Using my UK Tea Academy education, I have curated a small collection of high-quality loose-leaf teas that you can enjoy as individual teas, as gifts, and as a subscription.

The Chiya and Chai collection will grow as I uncover more teas to share with you, but always remain selective. Quality is much more important than quantity, so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed like I was.

And if you would like to learn even more about all the aspects of tea – how it’s made, its benefits, and how to enjoy it at its best – then check out our regular tasting sessions, both online and in-person. Not only does this help you find a community of other tea lovers, but you will feel confident in your choices from that moment on!

From seasonal aromas to comforting classics; let’s discover the world of loose-leaf tea and the pleasure of a good brew together.

glass teapot with tea afternoon tea experience