Tea. The beverage might be typically associated with old people, the Revolutionary War or, more recently, the Tea Party movement, but if Tiesta Tea has anything to do with it, that will soon change. The local six-month-old tea company is aiming to provide consumers with “not your grandmother’s cup of tea,” said CEO Daniel Klein. Tiesta Tea is currently available at Oh Olive!, Bella Mia Boutique, Strawberry Fields, Natural Gourmet and Walnut St. Tea Company. buzz sat down with Klein and cofounder Patrick Tannous to discuss their new company.
Buzz: How did you get the company started?
Patrick Tannous: We both studied abroad in 2009. I went to Paris and Dan went to Milan. We took a little weekend vacation to Prague, Czech Republic. We found a Czech teahouse. This wasn’t your traditional teahouse. They had some of the craziest teas we’ve ever seen and some of the craziest flavors of tea we’ve ever seen, ones that we haven’t been presented with in the U.S. In Prague, we thought, “This is a great idea; we should take it home.” buzz: What makes your tea stand out from other
brands on the market?
PT: The common problem we’ve recognized is that tea is too confusing. It’s too complex for the average consumer. They tend to be overwhelmed when they go to purchase tea, so we break it down simply. We give you five functions of the tea to choose from: Energizer, Relaxer, Slenderizer, Immunity and Eternity. We have twelve different teas for each brand, so we make it simpler for a consumer to choose a tea. Not to mention, we custom blend the teas to fit those specific categories.
buzz: How would you describe the tea’s taste?
Daniel Klein: All of our teas are very full-bodied, and we tend to go for teas that have a lot of flavor. We have unflavored teas and we have flavored teas, both of which are extremely high quality. I guess the main kind of tea that sells well among our demographic, the college students, is more of the fruit teas. We have some very unique fruit blends that you basically will not find anywhere else. They are very, very unique. They tend to have a lot of fruit chunks in them, a lot of different wellness herbs to fit the brands.
buzz: What are your favorite Tiesta Tea flavors?
DK: In Forever Young, the Blueberry Wild Child. It’s really got a nice unique blueberry and pomegranate flavor. As far as Slenderizer, my favorite is one called Fruity Pebbles. It’s a green tea with a bunch of different fruit pieces mixed in. … My favorite Immunity tea is one called Maui Mango … It’s basically a mango tropical flavor. It’s a sticky fruit blend. It tastes great iced and it tastes great hot. That’s one that kind of wows people. They don’t really expect that. It almost tastes like mango juice.
PT: For the Slenderizer my favorite one would be the Tropical Temptations. For the Immunity my favorite one would be the Fireberry. For Relaxer I’d have to go with the Minty Winter Wonderland.
buzz: How did you come up with the company name?
PT: “Tiesta” — it just kind of turned into what we call a “tea experience.” When you think of the word “tiesta,” you think of a fiesta, which is an experience that is physical; and then a siesta, which is also a mental experience. So a “tiesta” is a tea experience. It’s our reinventing the world of tea, what the experience of a freshly cup of brewed tea is.
Source: The 217 – Illini Media