“Share your blessings, share your wealth, share what you have.” – Tiesta Tea’s President, Patrick Tannous

With our Spread The Warmth event less than one month away, we are absolutely ecstatic about the amount of volunteers that have signed up, the TONS of generous donations we have received and the wonderful support we are being given from the community. We are well on our way to DOUBLING our efforts from last year and will hopefully be able to reach our goal of warming 1,000 hearts & giving out 300 Warmth Kits!

So far, we have collected over 70 Warmth Kits that were donated from individuals in our community and over 70 volunteers will be joining us to pass out hot tea and Warmth Kits. In addition, we have received generous donations from Think Jerky, Button & Zipper, Fred Water, Jewel-Osco, Westin Hotels, Dietz & Watson, Accion, Chicago Beverage Company, Spice Adams and Big Time Products that will be essential in helping us fill up more Warmth Kits. Every little bit helps and there will always be more hearts to warm. So we are asking for your help. If you have any toiletries, blankets or warm clothing items to donate please click here. Thanks to everyone who attended and donated to Spread The Warmth during our Tiesta Tea 2016 Holiday Party clothing drive!

By the way, did we mention that former Chicago Bears defensive tackle, Anthony ‘Spice’ Adams, will be one of our volunteers? So if you are going to pass out tea or drive during the event, you are in for a special treat!

We are so excited for our 2nd Annual Spread the Warmth event and CANNOT WAIT until January 20th, 2017 when we get to help spread a little warmth and a little love throughout Chicago.

 

#SpreadTheWarmth Donated Items 2016

To sign up & donate click here, join our Spread The Warmth event on Facebook or reach out to our Director of Marketing, Ashley Whitney at ashley@tiestatea.com.


World Teachers Day

#WorldTeachersDay

We love TEAchers! (Sorry, we just couldn’t resist!)

We’re so grateful for all that our teachers have done for us over here at Tiesta Tea. In fact, they’re the reason we are here today!

Teachers are the reason any of us in this world have gotten where we are today- they are the wonderful people with whom we spend most of our waking hours outside of the home, and they shape us to be who we are. Luckily, our founders, Dan and Patrick, were fortunate enough to have teachers that inspired them to pursue their innate entrepreneurial spirit and do what seemed impossible: start a loose leaf tea company as college students!

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On January 22nd 2016, Tiesta Tea gathered together with friends, family, and community members to Spread the Warmth to those in need throughout Chicago. Over 70 volunteers joined together in the Tiesta Tea headquarters and banded together and headed out to the cold streets and social service agencies throughout the city, such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters. There, we passed out over 500 cups of hot tea and 150 Warmth Kits. Each cup of tea was personally brewed by the Tiesta Tea team and each of the 150 Warmth Kits was filled with warm clothing donated by friends and family, sandwiches and water bottles donated by Jewel-Osco, protein bars donated by Raw Revolution, as well as hygiene kits (soap, shampoo, & conditioner) and blankets donated by Westin Hotels. Not only did volunteers share hot tea and warmth with those in soup kitchens and homeless shelters, but most importantly we were able to share countless smiles and conversations.

Check out our video recapping our first annual Spread the Warmth Night right here! Spread the Warmth would not have been possible without our team, our corporate partners, our families, our friends, and our entire Chicago community. THANK YOU to everyone who donated, volunteered, and shared the love with us!

Missed the first one? That’s ok! We’re making this an annual event here in Chicago! Spread the Warmth Night 2017 will be on Friday January 27th at 5pm. Mark your calendars and sign up using this link! We’ll keep you in the loop with any/all Spread the Warmth news and updates.

If you’re not in Chicago and want to Spread the Warmth in your city on January 27th, email ashley@tiestatea.com for more information.

Cheers to Spreading the Warmth and making a difference!


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


It’s a little known fact that Superman enjoys a nice cup of tea when he’s not saving the world. Spiderman too. And Batman. And the Hulk. Actually, especially the Hulk. It really calms him down.


Have you ever thought, “Wow this tea smells delicious, I wish I could put it in everything!”? We have. We love brewing up double strength teas and using it to flavor everything from smoothies to frosting. But some things just can’t take the extra liquid.

That’s when we got creative.

We turned our tea into spices so we could add delicious tea flavoring to just about anything. Yep. Just like that. How, you ask? Very cleverly- if we do say so ourselves.

Got some loose leaf tea? Excellent. Now how about a pepper mill? Yes. A pepper mill. It doesn’t have to be one of those fancy restaurant mills, even those little pepper filled plastic grinders will work. Now just empty out that mill and rinse it out (we have no need for that pepper flavor) and fill it with your desired tea.

Now grind up that tea. Boom. Tea spices. Just like that! Tea spices are perfect for adding tea flavoring to your favorite cookie or muffin or anything recipe. So simple.

Happy Baking!


Going camping but can’t bear to part from your precious Fireberry Tiesta Tea?? You don’t have to! Just bring a pan and boil some water over your campfire! Then you can pour the water over your tea, sing a couple campfire songs while it brews, and enjoy your tea while telling ghost stories! Camping just got even better.