Morning, noon or night – nothing beats the ritual of a steaming cup of chai. Tea is so much more than a drink; in Britain, a good cup of tea is used as a comfort blanket for a bad day, in Sri Lanka, it’s a form of connection, and in Japan, the famed tea ceremonies showcase deeply cultural roots. Tea is awesome. But it’s important to pick ethical tea companies who take their tea leaves seriously and can blend beautiful creations with love and care. From the magical digestive properties of mint to the sleepy mixture of valerian, here are our favourite independent tea companies.
The Singing Leaf
Hand-crafted organic herbal tea from the wild moors of the English countryside, The Singing Leaf carries the ethos of nature to nourish in every bright and balmy blend. Created by forager and environment educator Laura Skyner, the aim is always to source ingredients that are organic, locally grown, and picked with love from Mother Nature. In keeping with the natural theme, all packaging is fully biodegradable. While the Dreamtime Tea will send you into a blissful slumber, we love the Women’s Collection (blends like Flow and Moontime) designed specially to keep you balanced and in herbal harmony during the monthly cycle.
If donning a silken kimono and kneeling to pour the tea sounds like a divine way to break the day then Japanese tea straight from the source is sure to make you swoon. Kettl may have one foot in Brooklyn and the other in Fukuoka, but always the emphasis remains on shipping the best Japanese teas direct from the source. Small batch sessions of rare and delicate green teas; this is your chance to ooh over the Oolong, discover the sublime nature of Sencha and stock up on your Matcha bowls and geisha worthy teapots.
In Pursuit of Tea
Helping tea culture blossom across the pond in New York, In Pursuit of Tea is all about honouring the leaf and the land from where it came. Sebastian Beckwith and friends head out across the far-flung globe, visiting small farms and tasting teas, before bringing the best of the bunch back to the USA. They don’t blend or add anything; they simply celebrate the natural form. They also manage to source rare and regal teas like Mt Olympus from Greece and Silver Needle from the Fujian Province. They also have a darling little book about the art of tea and plenty of tea related goodies.
Bird & Blend
If you like your tea brewed with a little fun then the British Bird & Blend Company can stick the kettle on. Having grown from a bedroom brew company to an award-winning innovative supplier, Bird & Blend takes tea to another level. From unique flavour blends like the summer ice-cream collection to more traditional takes like their quirky Peppy Mint. There’s a young, fun feel about Bird & Blend and along with fun titles for their tea, the brand also boasts a wide range of tea-centric gifts and workshops.
Maison des Trois Thes
There’s something utterly romantic about an afternoon squirrelled away in the Maison des Trois Thes. Sure, you have to take the trek to Paris and feel your way around the 5th arrondissement but when you find it, you are treated to the tantalizing broody atmosphere of 1930’s Shanghai and a staggering array of no less than a thousand teas to work your way through. The vintage tea cellar is stuffed full of vintage teas all mysteriously brewing, and the owner is a bonafide tea connoisseur who also invites guests to partake in a traditional Gong Fu Asian tea ceremony. There’s no website, so exploration is a must.
Any favourite brews that make you sip and surrender? Share in the comments.