The benefits of drinking tea have long been talked about, especially as the beverage has journeyed on from being a luxury high tea staple to one that is more widely consumed at coffee shops and other venues the world over. While green tea has dominated mainstream media for a while, tea, in general, is now an optional hot or cold drink any time of year. For Courtney Alexandria, founder of the Maryland-based business Candid Tea, there is much more to tea than just the cup and kettle scenario. “Tea has many antioxidants, minerals and micronutrients. I truly believe tea can be transformative,” she says.
Alexandria’s tea business first started as a blog in 2016 serving the two-fold purpose of journaling for herself while also providing a platform for other women to share their stories, creating community and camaraderie along the way. As an avid tea drinker, she decided to share the healthy advantages of the beverage and further research brought to light its many uses and properties. “I could not believe how fantastic tea was and why more people don’t know about it. I became taken by the information I was reading and decided to be the person to help share that with others.”
Learning the Ropes
It was curiosity led Alexandria to enroll in the World Tea Academy, an online resource for professional global tea education, where she received her certified tea specialist certification and a foundational understanding of tea’s chemical compounds. The focus of her blog also changed during that time to that of a wellness platform that highlights tea and Candid Tea was born. Currently based in Bowie, Alexandria works with a distributor to source a broad variety of teas from across the world. All of which are sold solely through her website and are chemical-free and ethically manufactured.
Candid Tea currently offers a signature line of tea staples called the Identitea Collection, which has nine types of teas available year-round. The selections come in individual pouches containing 14 whole leaf tea pyramid sachets and creatively named for the beneficial qualities and characteristics of empowered women. Don’t be surprised if you are ordering the Millennial, Power Player or Mentor which are also some of the best sellers overall. The source and the ingredients for each variety are highlighted on each tea pouch, and Alexandria shares many fun recipes on the website to create other libations using the different flavors.
Experimenting with Tea
Additionally, she also releases themed seasonal flavors and has tea-infused products such as aged kombucha and elderberry elixir, which she created while experimenting to see how tea can be incorporated outside of the traditional tea drinking habit. “Tea is a botanical, so you could use it like oregano or parsley as a way to enhance cooking,” she shares. “For example, rooibos is nice in a butter sauce over salmon with salt and pepper.” Her experiments with tea and tea-infused products have resulted in a robust recipe development exercise, most of which are available on her website and in a newsletter emailed to her loyal clientele.
“As a person who likes experimenting with tea and finding a variety of things that go together unexpectedly, I recreate and share my recipes with my audience. The way I use tea and incorporate it is foreign to most people,” says Alexandria. “It’s different and I like that, but also the biggest hardship of being in the tea business. People know and see tea one way so they can’t perceive it as anything else.” Most people drink tea before bed or when ill, but this tea enthusiast calls it “functional water” in that a specific type of tea can provide what you need for your health and well-being.
Full S’tea’m Ahead
With degrees in communication and education and stints in the education sector before entrepreneurship, Alexandria’s move to becoming a business owner comes from an earnest desire to share the benefits of tea and how it can contribute to one’s health. Looking ahead, she plans to grow brand awareness and build a strong reputation both locally and across the United States. Although sold solely online, for now, Alexandria isn’t shying away from the possibility of a physical location at a later time that aligns with the wellness aspect of tea that she is highlighting through her work.
Meanwhile, she rolled out a brand advocate program to include more women on this journey to health and wellness through her online community and the shared love of discovering the benefits of incorporating tea in more ways than is popularly known. Alexandria also launched the Candid Tea Cares initiative in February 2019, where each month ten percent of proceeds goes to a different organization that works toward empowering women. This information is also available on the website, along with details on upcoming events and where her products might be available next for you to experience.