Brand Spotlight: Beach House Teas

The July Tea Box Express featured two amazing products by Washington State-based Beach House Teas: Blueberry Beach Breeze, a very summery tea blend, and rose petal-infused pure cane sugar. Crindalyn, founder of Beach House Teas, lets us in on her special formula: her talents and interests combine perfectly for running a tea business and her surroundings provide just the right inspiration.

Source: beachhouseteas on Instagram

Tell us a little about Beach House Teas. How did it get started and why the beach theme? 

I talk a bit in the next question about where Beach House Teas inspiration came from, but the actual leap into business was inspired in my kitchen and my love of tea. I would create blends for friends and family for birthdays, holidays, etc and was always told I should start my own business. So a hobby and passion turned into Beach House Teas. I have a background in Marketing and Graphic Design, have a love of photography, gardening and just a love of creating so with BHT I'm able to utilize a lot of my skills and find it a great outlet and not a job. 

The beach theme was actually an easy choice. We are located in Long Beach, Washington (don't confuse us with Long Beach, California) and there's a lot of beach and water on three sides. The Long Beach Peninsula - dubbed the world's longest beach as it's the longest continuous driving beach at around 29 miles. We wake up every morning to our beach inspiration. 

Source: beachhouseteas on Instagram

You have such interesting tea blends (even the names are creative!). How do you come up with your concoctions?

There's a lot of experimentation that we go through.  I grew up in a family that was always creative in the kitchen and had large gardens that we'd always figure out ways to include what we grew. We grew up around mountains and spent a lot of time foraging for wild plants and berries.  My grandmother worked with folks in the homemade beer and wine industry and I grew up helping her in not only the creation of the homemade spirits but worked the retail side helping customers. Through this childhood and lots of personal study in herbalism, botany and the culinary world as hobbies, that all comes together with paying attention to what is in season, sourcing local and Pacific Northwest ingredients and we find some unique blends in not only ingredients but flavor as well. Through both my mom and grandmother allowing me to be creative in the kitchen, I ended up winning a national baking contest when I was 9 with a lemon and lavender cookie bar recipe that I created on my own. The Pacific Northwest definitely inspires not only our ingredients and blends, but the names of our teas and other products as well, but do tend toward the beach theme. 

What other tea-related items do you sell?

We not only sell accessories like tea infusers and tea pots, but tea-infused soy candles and tea-infused bath salts, foot soaks and bath bombs. 

Source: beachhouseteas on Instagram

Besides as a sweetener for tea, what else can your herb-infused sugars be used for?

The herb-infused teas a pretty versatile. You can use them to replace your regular sugar in baking recipes or top cookies/cupcakes, top fruit, mix into homemade ice cream, top toast instead of cinnamon/sugar, use in jams, make a simple syrup, line the rim of your iced tea glass or cocktail glass, sweeten popsicles - we have proof now it works :)

Which Beach House tea is your favorite?

My personal favorite currently is Cascade Meadows and Beach Beautiful for my everyday teas. But once summer hits, I tend to the iced blends with Toes in the Sand and Inland Iced Chai at the top of my go tos. 

Thanks Crindalyn! To learn more about Beach House Teas and see all their awesome products, go to beachhouseteacompany.com.

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Brand Spotlight: Oliver Pluff & Co.

The July Tea Box Express box features Oliver Pluff & Co., an interesting company with a fascinating niche: pairing tea with American history. Kyle, the founder of Oliver Pluff, tells us more about his company, including their dedication to historical teas, from sourcing the tea leaves to the unique artwork on their products.

Source: oliverpluff.com

How did Oliver Pluff & Company get started and how long has it been around?

After college I traveled and worked with Samaritan's Purse International Relief for 6 years, which took me to disaster areas in Africa, Latin America, and Turkey. In former British colonies, tea was a big part of the culture and the agriculture.  It doesn't take long to take notice of the higher quality tea and coffee that these countries enjoy.  After I returned home, I decided to start a business in 2009 as a premium iced tea company.  Within the year, we met Colonial Williamsburg Foundation which became our biggest customer, requesting our assistance to create their colonial tea blends.  This boost to our sales took us in new directions as a business and we realized that historical teas were being overlooked.  We began to create Early American teas and now we sell to around 300 historic sites and museums around the country. The line has grown include new products such as our Colonial Blend Coffee, Cacao Shell Tea, Old English Wassail, and Colonial Remedies.  This fall we are launching a few new spice and tea products.  The brand continues to grow and evolve.  

2. You have a theme of history and American heritage throughout your product line. How did this become such a big part of your brand?  

The historical teas are what we are best known for, especially our Bohea.  It's a smoky black tea blend from colonial times.  There are other colonial teas that we have not yet been able to source, with names such as Congou, Singlo, Twankay, Imperial, Pekoe Skin.  I am enjoying the historical research and the culinary adventure to seek these out.  We continue to meet more small, passionate historical groups and gourmet stores who are so excited to have a chance to carry our line.  Our customers continue to request more from history (last year I learned about sugar cones and nippers). Our vision is to connect people to American heritage through historic beverages.  We would like to be the best-known company in America for this small, unique niche.  

Source: Oliver Pluff Instagram

3. What is the inspiration behind the unique artwork on your products?

Our tea packaging uses linen labels and stark, two color art, with fonts and art from a different period.  We seek to re-create some of the experience from a different era.  Our slogan is "A Leaf from America's Tea Heritage".  It's been useful to select our art and packaging with this guidance in mind and our customers enjoying the chance to sip and ponder American history as we offer short historical descriptions of the products on each tin.  

4. From where do you source your teas?

Whenever possible, we source from the same gardens that supplied the British East India Company.  This is primarily China, but also includes India and Sri Lanka.  We limit ourselves to around 30 teas to keep our tea as fresh as possible.  

5. Which Oliver Pluff tea is your favorite?

For about three years now I have been hooked on the breakfast teas.  English Breakfast, then Irish Breakfast.  But I was surprised last year by our Colonial Bohea over ice.  There's something thrilling about the smoky flavor with light cane sugar as an iced tea.  It's been fun to bend tradition by icing down the colonial teas.  

Thanks Kyle! You can learn more about Oliver Pluff at oliverpluff.com.

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Brand Spotlight: Chai Diaries

It's already July and we have a great box coming up this month! July's featured tea is from Chai Diaries. The company's founder, Ami (<--she grew up on a tea plantation in India!!!) was kind enough to share a little more with us about Chai Diaries.

Source: mychaidiaries.com

How did Chai Diaries get started and how long has it been around?

I started Chai Diaries in 2013 when I moved to America from India.  My family has harvested tea in India for over 100 years, which motivated by passion from a very young age. I’m inspired by the serene joy that comes from the tea drinking experience and I wanted to share the culture and ritual of tea drinking with others.

Have you always been a tea enthusiast?

You could say I was born a tea enthusiast.  Growing up on my family’s beautiful tea plantation was enough to get me hooked.  Each flavor recipe is an exciting tasting adventure as you perfect the blend. I have a love for developing refined blends and beautiful aromas because it captures my memories from childhood and allows me to share this experience with others.   

How did you come up with the name and where does the “diaries” part come in?

Chai Diaries is built on the principle of honesty and the importance of self-reflection.  The ritual of enjoying tea is sacred to each individual. You pick a tea based on the mood of the present moment and I encourage its enjoyment as a reprieve in what may otherwise be an overwhelming day. Tea drinking can be both a personal and introspective experience or shared with a friend, but I believe it should always provide pleasure.

From where do you source your teas?

Our teas are sourced directly from tea growing estates around the world. We have years of relationships established with the estate owners across countries like India, China, Japan, Taiwan, allowing us to ensure that we are procuring what’s best for our customers. Our specialty teas are then hand blended in-house in California with natural whole fruits and botanicals. Each tin is hand packed fresh when we receive orders from customers, ensuring their Chai Diaries experience is one filled with freshness and love!

Which Chai Diaries tea is your favorite?

Oh well that would definitely depend on my mood.  What I love so much about Chai Diaries is that we offer an array of premium teas to suit each and every mood and function.  In the morning, I love having our Chinese Organic Dragonwell, a beautiful pan-fired green tea exclusive to that area in China. But in the evenings I’ll enjoy something a little more fruity and iced, like our Blood Orange blend or our summer favorite – Passion Fruit Oolong!

Thanks Ami! To learn more and see their tea selection, visit mychaidiaries.com.

To sign up for a July box that contains Chai Diaries tea, purchase a subscription or a gift by July 5th.