Get ready for it – I am gearing up for a conversion from coffee to tea. Yes, you read that right. The Tea Spot has convinced me that this is a good thing. This will be worthy of its own post…meanwhile, I’d like to introduce you to The Tea Spot and its founder, Maria.
The Tea Spot is the total tea solution that makes loose leaf tea an everyday luxury, so you can live an inspired and healthy life. Based in Boulder, Colorado, it was founded in 2004 by Maria Uspenski, a cancer survivor drawn to the health benefits of tea during her recovery. She set forth to promote wellness by making loose leaf tea an everyday luxury. Her message is simple and powerful: tea in its freshest form renders incredible flavor, unmatched health benefits, and is eco-friendly. As a certified woman-owned and operated business, they produce innovative and patented products to modernize the loose leaf tea experience. They are committed to clean, sustainable, and fair manufacturing standards. Their mission of social entrepreneurship incorporates a culture of giving as they grow: 10% of all profits are donated in-kind to cancer wellness and community programs.
We are thrilled to be part of The Tea Spot’s 10% Pledge through Cowgirls vs. Cancer. We will also be partnering with them in other exciting ways in the near future.
1. Tell us how the Tea Spot was born.
The Tea Spot truly is a labor of love, and a second business honeymoon for me. It started almost in spite of itself. Having just come out of recovery, I wasn’t looking to start a business, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about how to make fresh-steeped loose leaf teas more palatable, more accessible and easier to steep…and one thing led to another. Next thing I knew I had developed some loose leaf teaware, a few tea blends, leased some space, and hired some employees – and we were serving these teas to the public.
2. During your recovery from cancer, you heard tea calling your name. What drew you to it and its health benefits?
Tea’s been calling my name since I was a child, actually. I grew up in a Russian family, and we had tea every night. It was, literally, like you would read in an Alexander McCall Smith book or any of the Harry Potter books – anytime things went out of control, you were sitting down to a pot of tea. So the same thing continued, and was the grounding point in my day throughout my recovery – it was more the ceremony and process of taking tea with my teenage daughters every day which kept a degree of normalcy to our days during that time. And, coincidentally, as I was researching lifestyle changes (that is, by the way, when I was first introduced to yoga as well…so it’s one of the reasons that your mission at Big Sky Yoga Retreats rings so true to me) to prevent the recurrence of cancer, I came across a few very compelling studies of green tea and women’s cancers. I could count on one hand the number of times I’d even tried green tea by that time in my life, and didn’t really enjoy it (!) but decided I needed to figure out how to embrace it, and bring it into my daily routine. What I learned was how sensitive a green tea infusion is to the quality of the tea and the steeping method, and that’s what really got me started on developing ideas on how to simplify this, so anyone could enjoy this healthy beverage in a delicious, simple and affordable way.
3. Loose tea vs. tea bags?
Hah! We JUST launched tea sachets 🙂 But they are the SAME EXACT LEAVES as we sell loose. And we only did this now, because we found a plant-based biodegradable pyramid sachet material which has an amazing flow-through rate for awesome infusion. But our take for this was just written up, and it’s on this page: http://theteaspot.com/loose-tea-vs-tea-bags.html
4. Fill in the blank: Tea + Yoga = _________
I conferred with our resident yoga expert on this, and she and I differ on the matter…I love to have a cup of hot green tea or white tea 30 minutes before my yoga practice. I find that it helps get me to that calm and focused state of mind which allows me to be present only on my mat during my practice. To me, that’s the bliss of practicing yoga, and tea helps me get there. Jessica Kochik, our CMO, has a different approach. She prefers not to drink anything beforehand, but starts a green tea cold brewing before she starts her yoga, and then rehydrates with this good strong bottle of green tea after her practice. BUT – her answer to What is Tea + Yoga was also Bliss, completely independent from me…so there you have it, 2 very different routes to get to the same answer!
5. This is probably the toughest question: if you had to pick just one tea, what would it be and why?
Yes, that’s a tough question, because I’d probably give you a different answer depending on the time of day or day of the year…but I have to say that I most look forward to starting my mornings with a careful chinese gong-fu style brewing of Pu’erh tea in a clay teapot. It’s like wrapping yourself in a favorite blanket, and I find that it a beautiful luxury to start my morning with a quiet process, when I get to reflect on everything I’m grateful for and have to look forward to in my day.
Stay tuned for more coming soon on The Tea Spot, and more reasons why Tea + Yoga = Bliss! Namaste.