Tielka – My Story
I fell in love with specialty loose leaf tea in the northern winter of 2002 when visiting a friend’s café in Kielce, Poland. Everything about her café was stunning, so carefully and lovingly put together—she was an artist with impeccable style and she captured the vintage feel with finesse and ease. Amongst all the gorgeous trinkets, old pictures and good coffee was an extensive tea list, which was a menu in itself of well thought out descriptions of flavours and origins. It really was love at first sight (and taste) and I’m sure I got through a good portion of her tea while I was there.
In mid 2008 I was inspired to start my own Fairtrade organic specialty tea company. As I asked around, the response echoed everywhere. Frustrated tea lovers were craving to be served something special, to be given the same care and attention coffee-drinkers experience. They were either disappointed with the tea brewed or settled for coffee instead. Not another over-priced serving of poorly brewed stale leaf tea, or worse—a teabag in a teapot! The joy of being served fresh organic specialty loose leaf tea, ethically sourced and brewed to perfection seemed like a distant dream.
After months of searching, I finally discovered two Fairtrade organic tea gardens in China. These communities had tea crafting skills that went back thousands of years and the tea was simply divine: fresh, hand harvested, beautiful with complexities and depth of flavour that were nothing less than intriguing. Recipes were created, teas tested, named and brewing methods perfected. There was no turning back—Tielka was soon to present Australia’s first certified Fairtrade organic loose leaf tea collection.