Chiya and chai
Sandra Benn

Sandra Benn

Why Tea?

It’s usually one of the first questions I get asked. Why did you choose to set up a business selling tea? And there’s no single reason why. Rather, it’s…well…a blend.

All a million miles away from my previous career in banking. Which I left in 2018 because 34 years was enough. I wasn’t stressed out, I didn’t have a crisis. I just decided that was enough years, and I still had lots of them ahead of me, and it was time to move on.

Originally we were intending to travel, my partner and I. But a sick parent followed by a global pandemic put those plans on hold. So I was looking for something else.

So I asked myself that question that we hear all the time. What do I love to do? And as I thought about the answers, the connection between them started to become clear.

Tea was my thing. But why tea?

There’s the fact that I love to drink it. That it’s full of flavour, texture, aroma and it’s warming. I love to cosy up with a blanket, a good book and a warm cup of chai. It’s my self-care moment.

There’s a connection with travelling, another love of mine. I have happy memories of drinking local teas in many parts of the world, from Peru’s coca tea, Argentina’s yerba mate and on to chai in Nepal and India. All of it prepared by locals. All of the recipes unique to them. Sipping on a cuppa, looking back through photographs, and Facebook memories takes me back to experiences and cultures and stories that I treasure.

It’s cultural. Tea ceremonies and rituals are fascinating to learn about. Here in the UK, we used to attach more importance to it. Now, for many, it’s little more than a fast beverage. We dunk and go. I believe it has way more value than that.

And, it’s a nostalgic experience. Whether that’s the stewed brew at a gran’s house, the china tea-set given as a gift from a now deceased parent, a reminder of a train trip with a girl-friend on an adventure to China. These are all stories told to me by customers for whom it’s more than just a simple cup of tea,

It’s not simple. It’s hugely complex. One plant produces all six types of tea and thousands of varieties of each. That’s inspiring. So it’s the start of an education into a world of botany, history, geography, environment, sustainability, health and much more.

But most important, and strangely in this time when we’ve been separated from each other it’s for connection. It’s a subject that everyone can talk about. Something to bring us together, even if that’s just digitally for now. One day soon we’ll experience it together physically. For now, it allows me the opportunity for growing and learning, for community, for the expression of passion, eventually for gatherings, fun, laughter and all the things that are the essence of life.

It’s not just tea. It’s so much more than that.

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