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Innovation & Startups

Handmade Tea, a local blend steeped in flavor. Bring on the chile peppers and mission figs

A cup of tea on a bleak winter’s eve might be the most healing tonic of all time. If so, how about a Handmade Tea
Caleb Brown, tea lover and full-time web developer for startup NoWait, thinks so. Bored by the taste of so many bland loose-leaves, Brown began mixing his own blends in 2011 out of his Lawrenceville home. With a little help from quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, he's turning up the taste with Handmade Tea. 
Just as beer has gone from a blue collar drink to a beverage with distinction and complexity, so tea may be thoughtfully paired with a meal, says Brown. Imagine a light oolong with a flaky baked or broiled fish.
Handmade Tea is comprised of three ingredients; the tea leaves and two accompanying tastes. One popular blend, Bodhi Tea, mixes Chinese green tea, black mission figs and coconut chips, giving it a molasses-like sweetness. The Chile Pepper Black Tea was another eye opener. The teas are imported and the ingredients are from reputable wholesellers, some of whom are local.
Customers purchase a monthly subscription for $19.99 and receive a tea blend each month, enough for a cup or two every day. Each tea is unique because you brew the tea yourself, and choose how to mix the ingredients, he says.
It's kind of a reverse engineering spin on tea making, he explains.

The packaging is equally inspiring; the artwork on the tins was executed by local artists.
“I feel that quality tea is an art and it should be encased in equally beautiful artwork,” says Brown. “Handmade Tea is about building people’s palates in an easy, approachable way.”
The company has about 100 subscribers so far, a humble beginning. Word has spread with the help of social media, especially his blog on Tumblr and Facebook Gifts, which helped to double his sales last month.
For now, the tea will be sold through monthly subscriptions. In the future, Brown may package some brands to sell in stores and local cafes.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Caleb Brown, Handmade Tea

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