T'ien Yiheng once said, Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world, while an unknown author declared, Tea is a cup of life. Catherine Douzel wrote, Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.
A love of tea has definitely taken Neilburg area resident Carol Graham on a voyage down a new, unforeseen path, as she has recently launched the Sips Tea Company from her home on the family farm. Carol calls herself a tea purveyor as she has begun selling luxury loose leaf teas.
Graham held an open house in the village Jan. 21 at the home of Brent and Ria Wiens. She had many of the 45-50 different blends she supplies on display. The kettle was on and the fancy tea cups were on the sideboard, so Carol could share a cuppa with her customers.
The smallest amount of tea available is a 50 gram bag. This is enough to make about eight cups and is a good way for tea drinkers to sample a blend to decide if they like it or not. The leaves are also available in 100 gram, 250 gram and 500 gram packages.
It is sold by weight, like the purveyors of old, explained Graham.
She currently stocks two estate teas - Tarajulie and Lover's Leap. There are 22 different black flavoured teas and three different types of strictly green tea. Another four blends are green flavoured teas. She also sells Rooibos flavoured teas, decaffeinated tea, and fruit teas.
Of course Graham offers what she terms the English favourites - Canadian Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey, as well as English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas. Graham has three herbal teas - and one of these is her own personal blend, called Manitou ZZZZZ Goodnight. She plans to feature a tea of the month and is pleased to take requests for specific loose leaf teas that may be sought by her customers and will be expanding her inventory as the business grows.
Graham says tea drinking is a growing trend and many are turning to it as a beverage for its health benefits, especially since it is rich in anti-oxidants (which are actually called polyphenols). She says many individuals are encouraged by their physicians to find an alternative to coffee in their diets and tea can fill that void. In fact, a cup of tea has one fifteenth the caffeine the same amount of coffee would provide. Tea is not just an "old ladies afternoon drink," notes Graham. It is a growing trend among younger people.
Tea drinking encompasses the idea of slowing down, relaxing and enjoying a good conversation with someone, says Graham. Having a cup of tea is "de-stressing," she says.
Graham began contemplating starting Sips Tea Company in November and has spent a few months discussing the possibilities and researching the ancient art form of tea drinking. She was pleased to receive much positive feedback, which resulted in the launch.
The tea Graham provides her customers comes from all parts of the world and is ethically grown. Some of the countries of origin include China, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, South Africa and South America. It's high end as far as quality is concerned, Graham stated, noting that when she receives the vacuum packed product the shelf life is up to 15 years. Once the larger bags of leaves are opened, and sold to the consumer, the leaves have an eight-year shelf life. Carol receives her product from a Toronto-based import company.
If you are interested in obtaining more information on the Sips Tea Company, contact Graham at 826-5486. She also suggests watching for posters as she hopes to hold open houses on a regular basis, to provide her products to all tea drinkers in the Marsden/Neilburg area.
- Uniek Swain