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.

And remember...you can still sign up for the August box! Subscribe or buy a gift by 8/5.

Brand Spotlight: Pearl Soda Company

Who tried the Vanilla Rooibos tea syrup by Pearl Soda Company in the June box?! Tea syrup is a fun and unique tea product. To make a drink, you just add to seltzer water or follow a simple recipe to create a cocktail. Liz, co-founder of the company, shares more about her company and their products.

How did you get the inspiration for starting Pearl Soda Company?

Like many people, we stumbled on the idea and just couldn't get our minds off of it. The first tea soda was made on a hot summer day when I was working at our sister company, The Jasmine Pearl. I kept wanting to make Dancing Dragon into a stronger, more refreshing iced tea because it was so close to tasting like old fashioned root beer. I realized it would be never be exactly what I hoped without bubbles. So we pulled the soda stream out of the break room and started trying to make sparkling Dancing Dragon. Pretty soon we were sharing with customers and the idea just kind of took hold. It was such a fantastically fun group project to discover awesome flavors and perfect the whole idea. We hope that fun shows in our final product. 

Image courtesy of Pearl Soda Co.

What is tea syrup and what can we do with it?

Tea syrup is a simple concept with a lot of creative possibility. We carefully blend and brew tea at a very high concentration and then add a little pure cane sugar.  Think of it as a simple syrup packed full of flavor. Although our original vision was to make syrups that would eventually become sparkling tea, one of my favorite things is seeing all the awesome ways people use them. You can use them to make mocktails, cocktails, tea flavored desserts, floats- anything! Just keep in mind that one ounce of syrup is enough flavor for a pint sized glass and start experimenting.

Do you have a simple recipe that uses the Vanilla Rooibos tea syrup?

Sure! Vanilla Rooibos has such a nice, creamy flavor that it unsurprisingly pairs well with creamy things. I love love love Vanilla Rooibos with sparkling water and a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top. It's a grown up, extra yummy, crazy smooth and decadent float. You can take it one step further by adding a shot of bourbon. 

In a pint glass, add:

  • 10 oz. sparkling water
  • 1 oz. of Vanilla Rooibos syrup
  • one generous scoop of butter pecan ice cream
  • 1.5 oz. bourbon (optional)

Give it a little stir and dig in!

Also, our website full of other fun ideas, www.pearlsodaco.com

Source: pearlsodacompany on Instagram

Which tea syrup flavor is your favorite?

I get this all the time, and it's always a difficult question because I sincerely love them all. I'd say, I reach for either Dancing Dragon or Blue Mt. Sunshine the most often. Dancing Dragon is so unique and its also the flavor that sparked this whole project so I have a special place for it in my heart. It's made from some of my favorite things; Sarsaparilla- the dominant flavor in root beer, Puerh- aged earthy tea from Yunnan province in China, and Honeybush- a cousin of rooibos that tastes like honey. Blue Mt. Sunshine, on the other hand is very classic. It's made from Nilgiri black tea from the blue mountains of southern India, lemongrass and lemon myrtle. The flavor is kind of like a very gentle Arnold Palmer and it's so fun and easy to make cocktails with. Just a little dash of vodka or gin and you're done!  

Thanks Liz! Learn more and order your syrup at pearlsodacompany.com.

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"Tea Talk" with Writer Lu Ann Pannunzio

Tea blogger and writer Lu Ann Pannunzio knows a thing or two about enjoying the tea experience. In fact, she's written a whole book on the subject! I have long admired her appreciation for tea and her gorgeous pictures on social media. Lu Ann is also the curator of our April box, which will include her book, Tea-spiration, and four more special items she has chosen. Lu Ann was nice enough to chat with me about her blog, her book, and her tips for exploring the world of tea.

Source: teaaholic Instagram

I love your Instagram name, teaaholic. How did you become a “teaaholic?”

I think I have been labelling myself that since I was in high school, haha. I’ve thought about changing my Instagram handle to brand it with my blog and other social media accounts, but I can’t let it go. I discovered tea at a young age because I remember my mom and older sister used to always enjoy it together. One day my sister brought home a wooden box that contained strawberry flavoured black tea bags and I was finally allowed to have my first sip of tea at the age of 7. I didn’t know much about tea back then but I started to fall in love with it because of the connection it brought me with my mom and sister. The best part of my day would be when I had the chance to be “so adult” and sit and sip tea with them. Since then my love for tea has slowly been growing and I have been slowly learning more and more about it.

You have a beautiful blog, The Cup of Life. What kinds of things do you discuss over in your corner of the internet?

Thanks so much! I want The Cup of Life to be a spot on the Internet that tea lovers can visit and slow down with their own cup of tea. The blog is filled with some tea infused recipes, crafts, reviews, and anything else I learn during my tea journey that I wish to share. My most favourite part about tea blogging is the wonderful tea community online! I have connected with so many awesome tea lovers around the world and I hope to continue to!

Writing a book is a big project! Can you tell me more about your book and what inspired you to write it?

I have always wanted a book that didn’t teach me about tea and how to properly make it, but instead celebrated all the moments we experience with tea since that’s the reason why I fell in love with it in the first place. There is a quote I love that goes something like, if you can’t find a book you want, write it yourself and that’s just what I did with Tea-spiration. My thoughts for Tea-spiration were to take readers back to when they first started to drink tea and why they loved it then. In Tea-spiration I highlight all the great tea moments us tea drinkers can experience — big or small. For instance, that moment when you first open a freshly sealed package of tea and take in that aroma, or even the moment when your tea leaves begin to unfurl.

This book was written with all tea lovers in mind, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tea enthusiast or a casual tea drinker, every tea drinker should be able slow down and relate to some of the book. The size of the book should be noted too because it’s meant to be the perfect book to have during your tea time, fitting easily on your tea table or packing up with your tea ware. 

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Source: teaaholic Instagram

What can you recommend to someone who is just beginning to explore the world of tea?

Drink all the tea! AND drink it however you like it. I think one of the best advice is to not be afraid to explore tea your own way. You can follow the instructions on a package of tea that tells you how to prepare it properly, but after that you should experiment with your own ways of making it and see what you like best. There have been a lot of teas in the past that I thought were the worst things ever, until I started to “break the rules” by steeping them another way and notice the difference that made. This little bit of advice is also discussed in my book. 

How many cups of tea do you drink each day?

I usually have 2 mugs of tea and then several tasting cups of tea each day. My first mug of tea is usually right in the morning and a bold black tea such as Assam, sometimes I will also whisk a bowl of matcha later in the morning. Later in the afternoon I’ll try to actually sit down and have tea with my gaiwan and sip from tasting cup sizes. The last mug of tea is usually before bed and it could be any kind (caffeine doesn’t really bother me at night!).

You have an hour free from responsibilities and chores. Can you describe your perfect “tea break?”

No responsibilities and chores? Ahhh…that already sounds so perfect already but, of course, tea can still make it better. A perfect “tea break” for me would consist of a tray of fresh baked scones (I really like my scones, haha), a fancy tea cup, big pot of tea to keep refilling, jazz music playing softly in the background (sometimes I’ll even have my boyfriend play live jazz music for me, haha), all technology far away (!!!) and Tea-spiration by my side for whenever I need to flip open a page and connect with my tea a little bit more :) 

Thanks Lu Ann! I strongly recommend visiting her at The Cup of Life blog and on Instagram as teaaholic. You won't be disappointed!

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