It has been a wild ride these past couple of years, from overcoming setbacks, to major changes and growth, and even a pandemic! But we are thankfully still here and able to provide you with our brew-tiful blends. To celebrate this incredibly special occasion, and to show how thankful we are for your continued support these two years, we asked our founder Kevin some of your burning questions, to give you a chance to get a little more insight about us and the man himself!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“While growing up in Asia and North America, tea was a big part of my life for many years. Tea is very ceremonial in East Asian cultures. If we had company over, my parents would always have the tea sets out and make green tea. I was exposed to that tea culture a lot as a kid, it was a way to build connections with people.”
When was KAYTEA officially created?
“We officially launched KAYTEA back in June of 2020, during the first lockdown in England.”
How did you choose the name KAYTEA?
“The initial name I had, was Koala Tea, as a play on a pun for quality. Unfortunately, that name just had too many memes associated with it! So, I decided on KAYTEA as it also sounds like my initials KT.”
What inspired you to create KAYTEA?
“After moving to London at the age of eighteen, I noticed that the British tea-drinking stereotype didn’t seem to ring true, tea culture got lost in London in a sea of Starbucks and independent hipster coffee shops. With the mission to create a new generation of tea-drinkers, I began making my own blends at home. I was making ceremonial Japanese matcha and adding lemon to cancel out its bitterness, or traditional Chinese jasmine teas with grapefruit to balance out its botanical flavour. I loved putting my own spin on traditional tea. After falling in love with tea-making, I soon left my career in finance to focus on re-introducing tea to popular culture in England.”
What are the key values are at the heart of KAYTEA?
“Our core value is to distil an appreciation for harmony – life enhanced through elevated flavours, variety, and community. We want to place tea back in the centre of focus again, building genuinely delightful experiences with and around it. The ethical and sustainable sourcing of our ingredients is also especially important to us. We trade our ingredients from all over the world and use organic ingredients when possible. Our suppliers thoroughly screen and audit to ensure food safety and quality. Many of our teas are from Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and Ethical Tea Partnership affiliated estates to ensure ethical farming practices and the welfare of its employees. We are also very conscious of our environmental impact. Because of this, we pledge to plant a tree with each of your orders to help offset our collective carbon footprint, and our packaging will also soon be 100% recyclable!”
What makes KAYTEA unique?
“We do not believe in compromises. At the intersection of health and flavour, we specialise in creating blends that taste and feel good, without the nasties. Through a deep appreciation for flavour pairings, we have created exciting yet balanced profiles that transcend traditions – bringing together complementary ingredients and people from all over the world.”
What are some of the products KAYTEA offers?
“We have matcha and superfood blends made with natural and plant-based ingredients that have been stone-milled into a fine powder at a low temperature, preserving all the flavours and health benefits as you take in the whole ingredients. We also have a range of artisan loose leaf teas, ethically sourced and hand-blended in the UK. Inspired by teas from all over the world, our blends are carefully curated to elevate the aromas and flavours of the teas, whilst staying true to the naturally occurring health properties. Our organic cold brew ice teas contain the delicate taste of tea, and are paired with complementary botanicals to create exciting yet balanced flavours for a refreshing brew low in calories.”
What are some of the hardships you have experienced when creating your own business, and how did you overcome them?
“One of the hardships I faced when establishing KAYTEA were several terrible manufacturing failures. Unfortunately, due to our existing contract we were unable to claim anything back from it. Because of this, we had to take legal action against a supplier and won. Another problem I encountered during this time were daily rejections or a lack of response from buyers. However, I have found perseverance to be key when faced with this type of problem. As a result, we have launched into over two hundred stockists across the country with the potential for a national listing this summer.”
What advice do you have for others looking to start their own business?
“The advice I would give to someone looking to start their own business would be to do your research first, and if your gut is telling you yes – then go for it. It is a hell of an experience, but it is exhilarating!”