OUR STORY

The story of The Sophisticate's Tea is a heroine's tale. If you'd like to hear the full yarn, you'll have to come by, pour several tall drinks, and listen a while. This is the condensed version. 
 
From birth till five-years-old, I traveled the US with my gypsy mom before settling in Denver, where I quickly became the only daughter of my single dad and spent the rest of a strange childhood as a chubby, four-eyed chatterbox. 
 
I loved Colorado, but it didn't love me back and at 17, as a refugee of sorts, adventure called and I was invited to move to Wisconsin to live with a kind and generous family. I set two goals for myself at this point: to get married and have all my kids before turning 30. So, by the time I was 24, I had gone to college, met my husband, got married, had my first son and began putting my hubby through graduate school. But grad school left our family financially strained at times. One year, with the little resources we had, I decided to make gifts for the holidays. One of the gifts I created for family and friends was a masala chai concentrate. The loved it and begged for more.
 
We finished graduate school, moved to the South, had another son, decided to move back to the midwest for more graduate school, had yet another son, and ended up with a teaching post in Texas when I was 30.
 
And then I had a mid-life crisis.
 
With all of my boys in school and my husband excelling in his career, I had the frequent but little discussed housewife/mother identity crisis. Since I had completed my two goals of getting married and having kids, I didn't really know what I was or who I was as a person. So I dove headfirst into my love for tea to find out. I don't mean that I read tea leaves to find myself and my future. Instead, I did something much more extreme: I decided to start a tea company.  
 
Starting a tea company or any business to discover who you are sounds like a recipe for disaster, and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. But for me, it wasn't much different than the process of self-discovery an artist sometimes experiences in the midst of painting a masterpiece. The necessity of self discovery was the mother of invention in my case, and our company’s beginning became a classic American tale of ingenuity, initiative, creativity, redemption and grit.
 
When I was thinking of starting the company, I came across a quote attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” I saw a couple of things that I wanted for myself and for my company to value. Simplicity is the consistent focus on the essential elements of a good life for the sake of the whole. Sophistication is a virtue, a wise appreciation of an object's good qualities.
 
I saw simplicity and sophistication in tea. I love tea for its beautiful balance of simple ingredients, complex flavors, global heritage, and communal nature. It's a universal beverage that helps us focus on the basic building blocks of a good life. Tea brings us together and gives us pause, stimulating effective communication and allowing time for healthy contemplation of ourselves and our world. As we learn about ourselves, others, and our environment, we're spurred to ethical action. In short, as a person, I wanted to create, enhance, and preserve relationships for the good of the whole, and I wanted to do this through my love for tea. This mission and values are why I named the company The Sophisticate's Tea.
 
As I began to conquer my fear of failure and slogged through the hard work of self discovery, my vision for The Sophisticate's Tea clarified. I realized that I could do for craft tea concentrates what brewers had done for craft beer, namely, create multiple kinds of tea concentrates for tea lattes and cocktails under the same strong brand. And what better place to launch a craft brewing company than my former home of Denver, Colorado. 
 
My husband gave up his teaching career and we returned to my home town to begin our new life. I soon brought Jeremiah on as Co-Owner and Operations Manager, recognizing that his skills were a great compliment to mine, and my company became our company.
 
In just a few years, The Sophisticate's Tea has added a loose-leaf tea division to our concentrate division, has established wholesale and retail operations in two US regions, and is regularly serving customers in at least eight states.
 
We often say that the company we keep creates the company we have. The people that appreciate our teas and work with us as wholesale partners and retail customers embody the soul of sophistication. Far from being snobbish, they value the simple things in life without sacrificing style, creativity, and class. Spurred by an adventurous spirit, they study the world and love sharing new discoveries with us. And they celebrate community, working hard to improve themselves for the sake of improving others. Simplicity, creativity, an adventurous spirit, and community: these are hallmarks of sophistication and foundational elements of The Sophisticate’s Tea.  

Thanks for drinking with us!

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