In 2016, we had an AMAZING year expanding our tea horizons, making new tea friends, and Living Loose! A new year means new resolutions, new goals & new dreams just waiting to unfold and boy, do we have a lot of them.

This National Hot Tea Month, after reflecting on the past year while we sipped on lots of tea, we have decided that this year, we have one simple goal…

OUR 2017 GOAL:

“Live In The Wow with every cup of tea.”

We will continue to expand on our mission of creating understandable, affordable and accessible quality loose leaf tea blends that help make every moment count.

We will continue to support our Chicago community, Extra Special Teas and use our passion and resources to make a difference.

We will make WOW moments happen. Will you join us?

We have some incredible new teas, events and milestones coming up this year and we are extremely excited to share them with all of you. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, from those of you who have been with us from the very beginning to those of you who are just starting to Live Loose with us; we couldn’t do it without you.

Live Loose and create WOW moments this year.

Cheers! Here’s to an amazing 2017!


It’s that time of year again. Resolution time. Chances are, there’s one bouncing around in your head. Well, we’re two weeks in. How you doin’?

One of my favorite mantras is: “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” Whoever originally said that, kudos to them. So in the spirit of not giving up, of starting now, and of Living Loose, here I am with my take on 5 New Year’s Resolutions That Tea Will Help With.

Lose Weight/Exercise More – Green tea’s your go-to!
– Looking to lose a few? Green tea naturally increases your metabolism and helps speed up how your body breaks down and uses fat.
– Going for those 10,000 steps? Tea hydrates. Toss a pitcher of iced tea in your fridge, so you can hydrate before and after the gym. Healthy & Refreshing.

Eat Healthy – Means drinking healthy too. With tea, there’s no sugar, no calories, no sodium, no carbs. Just health benefits.
– Replace one 150 calorie drink with zero calorie tea every day for a year, and you’ll kick over 54,000 calories (aka 15 pounds)
– Replace one sugary drink (avg 46g sugar) with sugar free tea every day for a year, and you’ll kick over 40 pounds of sugar from your diet
– Replace on medium soft drink with tea every day for a year, and you’ll eliminate 6,935mg of sodium from your diet

Spend Less, Save More. – Tea can save your wallet.
Loose Life tea = $.30 per cup.
Fancy cafe coffee = $4.
Make the switch to tea every day for a year? Yep, you just saved over $1,300.

Give Back – We’ve all got something (time, talent, etc) that we can give.
Including us at Tiesta Tea. Through our Loose Change initiative, we partner with 4 non-profits throughout the year. With every cup of tea, you’re helping give back!

Spend More Time With Family/Loved Ones – This one is my favorite.
– Invite them over for a cup! It’s a perfect excuse to get comfy and chat.
– Make tea an after school routine in place of (or alongside) an after-school snack.
Got a kiddo out of the nest? Have a mug ready when they come home. This is my favorite way to catch up with my parents (shout out to Burl and Christy!).
– “Let’s grab tea sometime!” Since when did “grabbing a coffee” become code for a not-too-intimidating first date? Offering to grab tea shows more of your personality and gives you an excuse for that I-don’t-know-if-this-is-a-date date.
– Take someone tea when they’re sick. Personal example: my bf came down with a cold and wasn’t feeling up for a date. So, I brought over my tea and brewmaster. We were still able to spend time together while brewing and while sipping our tea on the couch.

So, pick one, pick all five, or create your own. Part of Living Loose is being the best version of yourself you can be. And tea can help.

Cheers To Living Loose In 2016,
Ashley


Happy New Year!
With 2016 here, we want to take a minute to reflect on our top 10 favorite moments from 2015. What did we do this year? Take a look.

Food Pantry Donations/Tour de Taste
One of our favorite things we did this year was create a marketing initiative that helped our local community. We created a program called #TOURdeTASTE and 10% of all proceeds from that program went to supporting our local Chicago food pantry. Over the year, we were able to purchase over 300 lbs of food for those less fortunate people in Chicago! There is nothing better than using our company to help our community.

Summer Company Outings
We LOVE having fun with the people we work with. It’s one of the best things about starting your own company. You get to pick who you work with. At Tiesta Tea, we’re all lucky to be such good friends. It makes company outings extremely fun. And Whirlyball is awesome!

Moved into a new office
Our first office was a 100 SqFt room in Champaign, Illinois. It was pretty small. The second was a small basement near Wrigley Field. It was pretty fun living next to the stadium, but I’m sure you can imagine how hectic it would get during game time. The third was a 1000 SqFt space in River North of Chicago. In 2015, we were fortunate enough to move into a larger space that’s roughly 2000 SqFt! The first act of business in our new office will be to host Office-warming party with all attendees donating clothes for our clothing drive in order to attend the party.

Debuted in several new chains
We were lucky enough to place our products in new chains across the country. Some big new chains include Savemart and Lucky Markets in California, Giant and Stop N’ Shop on the East Coast, and Piggly Wiggly here in the Midwest. We’re thankful to have new chains team up with us to make loose tea more accessible, affordable and understandable to our fans! If it weren’t for chains like this, we wouldn’t be able to give you loose tea in such an accessible, understandable and affordable way.

ExtraSpecialTeas
The coolest thing we did all year was use our community to help a non-profit company called Extra SpecialTeas launch their first tea shop. Tiesta Tea and our friends and family provided EST with the tea, brewing equipment and more to help them launch a tea cafe that is staffed by individuals with Autism. We threw a 5-year anniversary party into more than a simple party by having a silent auction and $20 door donation. Our silent auction baskets were full of awesome goodies donated from Get Maine Lobster, The Junto Institute, Eli’s Cheesecake and more. Together, we used our community to help a great cause.

5 Year Anniversary
We’re five years old this year! Getting to the five-year mark was no easy task. We’re so thankful for all our customers, friends, family, partners, professors, mentors supporters and others who’ve helped us. Tiesta Tea would not be where it is today if it weren’t for our people. We hope what we’ve done at Tiesta Tea inspires others to chase their dreams. We love what we do and because of that, we won’t work a day in our lives :)

Students Starting Businesses
We frequently visit high schools, colleges and entrepreneur programs across the Illinois to share our story and inspire others to start a business. This year, a student from Wheeling High School (Alma Mater of Chris, Rich, Alex and Patrick) started a business called Snap Clips. Martin continues to use Tiesta Tea for mentorship while starting his new company. After hearing how U of I and UIC helped Tiesta Tea, Martin Dmitrov of Snap Clips started using his school, WHS to help him. WHS granted him some seed money, and his business is officially incorporated and his product should launch in early 2016. We’re proud to inspire and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs!

Adding Joe
We’re so proud to add our 10th member of the team, Joe Scurek. Joe is a graduate for Northern Illinois University and his primary role is to make sure our customers get their tea as soon as possible!

Speaking at IGA
We were honored to be invited to the IGA Global Summit, an event in which we were asked to speak in front of 100+ grocery store owners. We discussed the topic of “Innovation in Grocery” and how grocery stores need to use technology and innovative products “like loose tea” to enhance the grocery store experience.

Sourcing Teas from Germany
We started sourcing and blending our teas from Germany. Why is this important for you? Well, it ensures us that we can offer you the best tea prices at the highest quality standards in the world. We’re working with a 5th generation herbalist/tea blender to help us create all our unique blends.

Without a doubt, you all had a hand in making these possible, so THANK YOU!

Cheers to an amazing 2016,
Dan & Patrick
CEO & President


I once read that the reason people don’t like tea is that they don’t realize how strong it really needs to be, so they see it as weak and insipid. This can be problematic for people who are just being introduced to loose tea.

So, here’s my suggestion for learning how to #liveloose.

It’s Monday morning and I need a tea I can really sink my teeth into. It needs to stand up to the rigors of trying to get my brain in gear for a busy week, while yet appealing to my feminine sensibilities. After all, as I tell my husband, I am a delicate flower.

I grabbed my Victorian Earl Grey. It’s a black tea, which means it has caffeine to wake you up, oil of bergamot, which gives it a distinctive aroma, kind of like an herbal lemon floor polish. Sounds weird, but it works, believe it or not. But what Tiesta has ingeniously done is add flowers such as lavender, marigold and rose. This softens it a bit so the flavor is more like a loving sibling punch in the arm than a slap in the face.

Now I don’t know about you, but I do not keep a measuring spoon at my desk. That would be odd (says the woman with 22 different kinds of tea at her desk). What you see in the palm of my hand in the picture is about 2 1/2 pinches. A good strong brew is what I wanted. I also used two packets of sugar. A brew strong enough to get you going on a Monday morning is going to need just a touch of sweetness to cut the bitterness.

What’s really neat is that as the VEG brews, the leaves and flowers unfurl, releasing their goodness. It’s not all chopped up dust, like other low quality bagged teas that most people are used to.

Anyway, visually, a strong brew should be dark, but not so dark you can’t see through it. This helps it really hold its own against a bagel and schmear. Which you need on a Monday morning.

You know, you could do a lighter brew of the VEG in the evening for a bit of relaxation, but I wanted to Carpe Diem today. The VEG is an excellent start to both the day and the loose tea life. That black tea with the bergamot helps put hair on your chest so you can go conquer those TPS reports (obligatory movie reference here), but that lavender, marigold and rose help you do it with a smile.

Yours in Steeping,
Sarah Jo


Big Shout out to Loose Drinker Sarah Jo for this blog post!

Gree-TEAngs!

This is @TeaLeafEmpress, also known as Sarah Jo. I’m a working wife and mother who stumbled across @TiestaTea running through the grocery store at 5:15 in the morning to pick up a couple things for work. I ran down the coffee and tea aisle, which is not easy to do in heels that early in the morning, and my eye was caught by these very colorful bags of loose tea. I bought Blueberry Wild Child as a metaphorical thumbing of my nose to the office, feeding my love of irony as well as providing a lovely libation in the middle of what I knew was going to be a stressful day. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Fast forward however long it’s been, and my 40th birthday reared its head. Time to take things, like health, seriously. That would be the grown up thing to do.

However, taking health seriously does not mean being boring. Or that you have to conform to the latest health fad guru. The first, and most important step, is to think about what you put into your body.

So last Monday, I was thinking about this zucchini bread I was about to put into my body. I had purchased the Dry Flight sample pack as a birthday gift to myself, so what tea was I going to pair with this? I was attempting to be sophisticated. I figured that the sweetness of the bread would be nicely balanced with what I assumed would be the creamy tang in the new Tahitian Vanilla Cran.

Note the obligatory snootiness of “balancing” tastes. This can be especially annoying in the early morning for people who are not yet awake. I, however, am a morning person with a type A personality and the heart of a chicken. And approximately seventeen different kinds of tea at her desk.

Just get to the Tahitian Vanilla Cran already, will you?

The first thing I smelled when I opened the package was a wiff of vanilla. But not the cloying crappy vanilla you smell in cheap candles that make you sick to your stomach, but a lovely smell that reminded me of orchids. It was light and floral. It made me think of soft water colors.

Which is quite refreshing when you’re making this in the breakroom at work surrounded by a soda machine and coffee machine.

So I take it back to my desk to let it steep, and boy, did those little dry bits plump up. You can also see how dark it got from the picture.

Now, since I had the zucchini bread, I didn’t add any sugar because I didn’t think I would need it. And I really didn’t. I wouldn’t have needed it even without the zucchini bread, and here’s why:

You would think that such a dark, red tea, or herbal infusion/tissane for you linguistic purists out there, would be sour, and it is, for a moment. If I sat and thought about what I was tasting, the first thing I tasted was the hibiscus, which was not what I was expecting. I was thinking the cranberry would be prominent. It wasn’t… at first. All of a sudden, the cranberry snuck up and punched the hibiscus in the face and i had a regular sour citrus taste melee going on.

But remember that vanilla I mentioned smelling? She showed up to the party, batted her eyelashes and bright peace to the hibiscus cranberry grudge match. They started working together to create peace and harmony in the tastiest possible way.

Slick move, Vanilla. Slick move. You earned my respect.

And that was key for me to raise it out of being an ordinary sour citrus tea that needed two or three sugars to make it drinkable. It had that tang you really want from a citrus tea, but that vanilla really softens it up and makes it complete. On its own.

All in all, it was a nice bright drink that wasn’t over-powering, but really just comfortable in its own flavors. Nothing more needed.

Which is refreshing.

I also steeped it a second time just for grins. If it didn’t taste good, I could still use the weaker tea to water my office plants. It tasted absolutely fine and for people who like their teas not as intense, you still have a good drink. You just might not get all the flavors of a really deep steep. But I gave most of my second steeping to my plants, which is a good idea to really use every last bit of goodness from the tea.

It’s thinking outside the bag, right?

Anyway, this is a good option for people who looking for ways to decrease their sugar intake.

Happy Steeping,
Sarah Jo
@TeaLeafEmpress


Hi Tiesta Family,

Ashley here! I’m typing like a mad woman because I am crazy excited for Tour de Taste! In just 1 day I’m heading out west to Arizona and California. AKA: TOMORROW!! What the hell am I doing in these cities? I’m bringing you tea! I know, I’m so nice. But in all seriousness, I’m coming out to Safeway stores and inviting you to join me for a Tiesta Tea Tasting. Every day, I’ll have samples of tea brewed up and waiting for you to try. You can ask me questions (20 if you want), and I’ll share my tea wisdom. Or, we can always just life chat if you prefer. I’d love to learn about which local sights and dives to visit!

Most importantly, I get to meet you! And we get to Drink It Forward together. Ever heard of paying it forward? Well, that’s what we’re doing. But in our own Tiesta way – with tea. Drink It Forward is so important to us, we’ve dedicated a whole page to it. Check it out: #DrinkItForwad

For those who resorted to sparknotes in school, here’s your version:
Drink it Forward = Our way of giving back. For Tour de Brew, a portion of every purchase made while I’m in a store will be donated to a local charity.

Follow my journey with #TourdeTaste and #DrinkItForward. I’ll post pics, stories, FAQ’s, and more fun!

Find your Safeway & mark the calendar! It’s going to be a blast!

See you soon!
~Ashley



Brainstorming can be an exhausting process and remembering your ideas can be even harder. Here are five tips to help you hold on to your bright ideas.

Write It Down!
Even though ideas seem to appear at the most inconvenient times, its crucial to record a fresh idea. This means, no matter what you are doing, stop and write down your great idea.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
It’s good to be sceptical, but you should never let you scepticism keep you from pursuing a bright idea. Just try, and don’t be afraid to fail… If you do, than you’ll know what not to do the next time.

Be Careful Who You Share Your Idea With
Make sure to share your idea only with people who’s opinions you can trust. I’m not saying only share with family and friends, but don’t just ask some Joe Shmo on the corner so he can give you his two cents, and possibly discourage you from pursuing your idea- or worse: steal it.

Silly is Ok!
Not every idea will be a great one, but don’t immediately discard those ideas that seem silly at first. Remember, everything great started off small. Who knows, with a little work, that silly idea could become the next big thing!

Don’t Look Back!
Once you’ve got your bright idea, start running with it! Too many times have over analyzing and procrastination killed great ideas. Get started on your idea and always be looking to the future. While developing an idea, it’s always best to have the end in mind, so that you are able to make decisions on how important a certain element is to the big picture of your idea.


When your thoughts are all jumbled between your work, personal life, and everything else, take a couple steps back and follow these simple steps to take back ownership of your mind!

Mindful Tip 1: Clear the Clutter
Clear your space, and your thoughts just might clear up too!

Mindful Tip 2: Write It Out
Writing out your thoughts feels like taking a giant folder out of your mind and dropping it into the trash bin. Satisfying.

Mindful Tip 3: Step Outside
Nature’s beauty has a way of calming the crazy buzz that plagues many minds.

Mindful Tip 4: Work Backwards
Visualize the end goal and work backwards from there. The path will become clearer, and so will your mind.

Mindful Tip 5: Do What You Gotta Do
Just start working through the tasks you have to complete. Clearing your to-do list makes room for what matters.

Mindful Tip 6: Brew Some Loose Tea
Pleasant aromas, beautiful unfurling leaves, and amazing health benefits make brewing loose leaf a calming act that will bring you back to the moment.

Mindful Tip 7: Stop Piling On Obligations
Sometimes it’s alright to say no to more when your mind is already packed with obligations! Let it go, and stick with what you can handle.


Looking for a fresh start this New Year? Tired of giving up your New Year’s resolution in February? Old habits die hard. Instead of clearing off that treadmill, try focusing on drinking just 2 extra cups of tea a day.

Trying to lose weight?
Gulp down a few extra glasses of green tea for a fiber filled diet that will have you shedding pounds without even realizing it.

Want to be healthier?
Just like every other addiction, the key is to stay positive and let the frustrating times pass. Try replacing your cigarette breaks with tea time. Not only does tea help reduce stress, but black teas help aid your lungs in fighting against the harmful carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Your new habit can be shared with your friends and family, too!

Looking to save some money?
Used tea leaves can serve a million different purposes. You can make your own shampoo, essential oils or just add it too your garden for a compost. Also, drinking loose leaf tea is way cheaper than beverages like coffee or alcohol.