We love that so many local entrepreneurs are growing and/or blending tea these days. Here are our three new favorites.
Georgia Grey Black Tea from Thistle & Sprig
Atlanta-based Thistle & Sprig blends loose leaf tea blends from ingredients they source from independent growers, family-run tea estates and sustainable farms. We tried their Georgia Grey Black Tea, a riff on the classic Earl Grey. Like Earl Grey, it’s black tea made deeply fragrant with bergamot but Thistle & Sprig added organic rosemary to the mix for its hint of pine. The combination is almost intoxicating. We liked it hot, we liked it iced. They offer several other unusual black tea blends, like their American Breakfast and Harvest Chai, as well as green tea, oolong and herbal tea blends. Each tin comes with precise instructions for brewing the perfect cup of that particular tea, and the company prides itself on every element of its packaging being easily recyclable and/or backyard compostable.
$14 per 1.5-ounce tin yielding 20 servings. Available at Alon’s, Australian Bakery Cafe, Bennett’s Market & Deli, Candler Park Market, Crafted, Cultured South Taproom, Eden Fresh Market, Grant Park Market, Kelly’s Market, Savi Provisions Decatur, Spruill Gallery, The Collective and The Local Exchange, the Decatur and Grant Park farmers markets and online at thistleandsprig.com/.
Jordyn’s Favorite Herbal Tea from Open Source Farm
Jordyn and Kevin Zak are first generation farmers, growing culinary herbs (vegetables, too) and making herbal tea blends in Havana, Florida. We ran into them at the Frenchtown Farmers Market in Tallahassee and came away with three different teas - Jordyn’s Favorite (holy basil, lemongrass and lemon balm), Florida Green (Yaupon holly and lemongrass) and Lemon Refreshment (lemon balm, chocolate mint and lemon peel) - each packaged in a reusable cotton tea bag in a clear compostable package How nice to find a tea where everything is grown by the people who are blending it. No trip around the world for any of these ingredients. And it turned out Jordyn’s Favorite was also ours. Sip on their tea while listening to their podcast, Turnip Greens Radio, with their thoughts on fair food, safe food and how life works on the farm.
$4 per 1.5- to 2-gram tea bag. Available online at opensourcefarm.net/.
Sleep Tight Herbal Tea from Jayida Ché
Aunt and niece, Aleathia Saleem and Mariyah Sabir, have been sharing their love of tea with Atlantans through their Ormewood Park shop since 2017. There’s now a second location on Fayetteville Road in the East Lake neighborhood. They named their business “Jayida Ché” which means “good tea” and they offer with dozens of varieties of black teas, green teas, herbal teas as well as tea equipment. You can stop by the “tea spot” for a cup of tea, a bite of dessert and a package or two of tea to take home. We tried Sleep Tight, their herbal tea blend for a good night’s sleep. It’s a combination of lemon balm, chamomile, rose buds, valerian root, lavender, orange oil and cinnamon. Valerian root is an herb widely used to help with sleep quality, but it’s got a very distinctive fragrance and taste. It might not be for everyone. The wonderful thing about spending time at the shop is that you can sniff and sip your way through lots of blends to find just the right one for you. Fall blends should be coming out soon.
Teas range from $5.50 to $8 per 1-ounce bag. Available at the two Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spots, 749 Moreland Avenue and 566 Fayetteville Road, Atlanta and online at jayidache.com/.