“Herbal tea is not something you drink on the run,” she said. “I craft each tea from organic, fresh herbs. It’s a process of blending leaves, grinding roots, steeping, adding honey… I’m selling something that is good for you – it’s totally different.”
Then a strange thing happened. Gradually she began to notice that some of those coffee junkies were beginning to show up at her shop. “They come in sort of curious at first. They can’t believe I sell herbal teas – no coffee. But usually within minutes of talking to somebody I can figure out a good tea for them – and then they’re hooked.” In fact, her business has actually increased since the coffee shops opened. “I hear all the time from people how they are beginning to incorporate my teas into their day. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, now they’re drinking my ‘Focus Finder’ or one of my de-stress or after dinner blends.
“I never in a million years considered myself an herbal tea drinker,” said Naila Wissa originally of Cambridge and now school teacher in Portland. “I’m your typical coffee to go sort of person. But I wandered in here one day and fell instantly in love with the shop and the teas. These teas are so different from what you buy in the grocery store or health food stores. Sarah has a tea for just about everything you can imagine – from pregnancy to post yoga workout. You really do feel much better after one.”
According to national studies, Homegrown Herb and Tea, which is now selling its teas online at http://www.HomegrownTea.com, is at the vanguard of a national trend. While coffee sales have flattened and sellers like Starbuck’s are shuttering cafes, herbal tea remains one of the fastest growing sectors of the tea and coffee market. This year experts predict its growth at 15 percent, most of it in medicinal teas - as a trip to your grocery store’s herbal tea aisle will reveal. “I just began selling my teas online and the response has been amazing,” Richards said. “Already I have had sales all over the country, Canada and Europe. People want the real thing.” By “real thing” Richards means fresh organic herbs hand blended in her tea shop in a conscientious and thoughtful manner, pointing out that unlike national brands that claim medicinal benefits but are made from low quality herb dust processed in China, she uses only the freshest herbs available, many grown on her brother’s organic farm. “No additives, no sweeteners, no BS,” she concludes.
Will herbal tea replace coffee? If Sarah Richards has her way, it will be sooner rather than later.
For additional information go to http://www.homegrowntea.com. Homegrown Herb and Tea recently launched the first Online Herbal Tea Apothecary featuring Wellness, Ayurvedic, and Specialty Blends as well as a premium selection of blacks and greens.
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is an herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrowntea.com. We serve wellness tea, Ayurvedic teas and specialty teas made from fresh, organic herbs and hand blend on site.