I’ll never forget my first visit to a tea garden. Bright green tea plants stretched as far as the eye could see, manicured into perfect rows over rolling hills and into the horizon. Taking in the view of that garden early in the morning with a cup of fresh black tea steeped to perfection was magical. And it was the moment that I knew tea would always be an important part of my life.
Life is chaotic and complex. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, surprises, obstacles, triumphs, setbacks, and repetitions. It moves slowly but passes quickly – and like a great cup of tea, it is meant to be savoured with gratitude.
Tea actually comes from a specific plant called the Camellia Sinensis plant, grown mostly in Asia. Long story short – it all started in China thousands of years ago. Overtime, the Chinese figured out they could change the flavour, leaf shapes, and properties of the tea leaves through rolling, drying, and using heat to stop the oxidation process at different moments.
Concurrently, the Buddhist monks brought tea to Japan. The Japanese are all about green tea – particularly steaming the tea leaves to create that vegetal, oceanic, and sometimes buttery green tea flavour (my personal favourite!). They realized quickly how special tea was – in fact, the first sentence in the first book ever written on tea in Japan reads, “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.”
Since then tea has spread around the world, connecting cultures, and has become a common thread in our collective history. It has been scientifically studied for decades by the best institutions on the planet for its health properties. Tea is not a fad, or an overhyped, understudied elixir – it’s the real deal in world where so little stands up to the test of time.
Every day since I was captivated by that tea garden, no matter what is going on in my life, I always make time for tea. Whether it is a Japanese green tea in the morning or afternoon, or a herbal tisane in the evening, tea gives me a little space from the noise du jour to remember how special it is to be alive.
Over the years, my passion for tea has grown deeper. I personally collect tea like some people collect wine. And I’m always discovering new flavours, innovative blending techniques, growing regions, and better steeping methods.
I started Firebelly so that I could share the teas that I drink with the world. And I never drink tea with “flavourings” – artificial, “natural” or otherwise – that are all made in a lab with preservatives to simulate a flavour. It just isn’t the same as real ingredients – so if it isn’t grown in nature, we simply don’t use it.
I’m excited about the journey ahead. First, for the opportunity to play a small role in helping people discover world-class tea and its many health benefits. But also for the opportunity to witness more people connecting to the meditative nature of tea. To be able to break from the confusion and uncertainty of life, take a sip, and appreciate our connection to each other through the generations is a universal gift we can all experience. If only for a moment, at least.
Co-Founder, Firebelly Tea