La Terza is thrilled to highlight our relationship with The Tea Spot, a producer of handcrafted whole leaf teas and steepware out of Boulder, Colorado. We now offer many varieties of responsibly sourced tea from a company that has a socially driven model similar to our own! You can now find loose tea as well as numerous serving and steeping products for sale at the Roasterie as well as on our website.
The Tea Spot was founded in 2004 by Maria Uspenski who discovered the health benefits of the whole tea leaf while recovering from cancer. Her passion is driven by her love of tea as well as the positive wellness benefits. The company started as a tea bar in downtown Boulder and has gradually expanded through their creation of original tea blends and innovative teawares. Their mission is “to foster health & wellness through whole leaf tea, so you can live an inspired and healthy life.”
One of the driving reasons we decided to partner with The Tea Spot (besides their outstanding product) was because of their philanthropic mission. They pledge to donate 10% of all sales to cancer wellness and community programs largely because of the insight Uspenski gained from her own experience while battling cancer. The company and each of its employees are dedicated to maintaining the wellness of cancer survivors and decreasing cancer risks through tea.
“Loose leaf tea became an integral part of my own recovery and continues to be a key component of my daily health regimen. The simple act of preparing loose tea is likely just as therapeutic as the tea itself. It gives me great joy to be able to share this with others and I am continually inspired by the people who courageously and actively fight to survive.”
-Maria Uspenski, CEO & ovarian cancer survivor
Two of our team members, David and Robert, had to the opportunity to travel to Boulder and experience The Tea Spot for themselves. They each had slightly different first impressions of the company, yet are equally impressed with the Tea Spot’s mission and quality.
“My story of finding The Tea Spot is the same that many tell when finding La Terza. I was vacationing in Denver last summer. While visiting Avery Brewery in Boulder, we had a beer that was brewed with Chai Tea from The Tea Spot. We asked our server where the Tea Spot was and he replied, “it’s in the next warehouse over.” This was the first part of the story that sounded familiar, as many people have found our roasterie by enjoying the Roebling Porter from our neighbors at Rivertown Brewery, ‘the next warehouse over.’
When I walked into the Tea Spot, I quickly learned that we have much more in common than having breweries as neighbors. Like La Terza’s approach with coffee,The Tea Spot is passionate about high quality teas, some as blends but many as single origin, working closely with the farmers and producers, ensuring everyone is paid a true living wage. Additionally, they embraced me and the rest of the La Terza team as newbies to tea! We love teaching people who come through our doors, meeting them wherever they are on their coffee journey. The Tea Spot welcomed us with the heart of a teacher – meeting us where we were and empowering us to enjoy some of the best teas from our home and roasterie. We have learned so much from them and are now able to relay that passion and expertise to our shops and customers. People often talk about finding their doppelgänger – we feel like we found our business twin! They happen to serve tea the same way we approach coffee.”
“Before I discovered coffee, I drank tea exclusively for my hot beverage, but I can’t say I really knew or cared about the product I was drinking. Coming from Uganda, one of the largest coffee producing countries in the world, you would think coffee consumption was a big deal. This was not the case. Uganda exports almost 98% of its coffee to other countries. The same is true with tea. Both tea and coffee were introduced to Uganda by the British mainly as cash crops and farmers were encouraged to grow both tea and coffee primarily for sale and export. With this in mind, all the best quality beans and teas were exported and the remaining lesserquality beans and teas are what were left behind for the local population. This is one explanation for why the majority of Ugandans have never tasted coffee or a good cup of tea. Since under-grade coffee is unbearable to drink, the local population was left to drink tea as it was the more palatable hot beverage.
My life changed when I discovered coffee and I have now been making and drinking it for over 15 years. When my David asked me to accompany him to Colorado to check out a local tea vendor, I was not overly enthused. This feeling was largely because I did not have any experience drinking good, quality tea and it felt like a waste of time and money.
My attitude changed the minute I walked into the Tea Spot Facility. The wonderful fragrances that emanated from the variety of teas on the shelves were overwhelming, in a good way. After a brief tour of the space our host guided us through a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. We had the opportunity to use the Ghongfu Tea Set where we cupped or rather tasted their oxidized oolong, Iron Goddess. I drew some sharp similarities to coffee as we tasted the subtle changes in the tea over time.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying a fully oxidized Black Pu’erh. This rich intense black tea kept me and my wife warm over the cold winter months. I just loved the earthy, mushroom flavors that came out after brewing. I played around with adding in some organic ginger roots to enhance the complexity and I really loved it. One thing to note is that all these teas are whole leaf loose teas that open up and become whole leaves again once you pour hot water over them.”
As Robert says, “We have partnered with the Tea Spot to bring this amazing Tea experience to people in Cincinnati and we hope you can come and check out our newest tea collections. Ranging from White, Green to Black, Oolong, Pu’erh and Herbals.” We hope that in the future you will join us on our journey of exploring the flavors and depth that tea has to offer.
All images courtesy of The Tea Spot.