Coincidentally, I used to have an advisor from Sri Lanka (you will see Sashee's connection in the interview below), who would insist on a daily tea break so we could be more productive later in the day. It was such a highlight of my day! Now, even with a crazy schedule, I can continue the tradition thanks to Tea Drops!
Lastly, Sashee is offering a Variety Box of Tea Drops in a lovely wood box to one of my lucky readers! From experience, I know that you will want to try them all for yourself, so it's perfect. :) Make sure to stay tuned for the giveaway at the bottom of the post. Now, to the interview!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
My name is Sashee Chandran and I am a life-long tea drinker! Tea has always played a pivotal ritual in my life. With a father from Sri Lanka and mother from China (two of the largest tea exporting countries in the world), becoming a tea junkie was a really hard destiny to avoid. To me, tea is like a hug in a mug, and I've tried to share that same outlook with as many friends and strangers that allow me to.
I don't claim to be a tea connoisseur at all. I simply have observed the ritual of tea my entire life and have come to love the memories that are created over a great cup of tea. Different teas often correspond to a particular memory in my younger life, that's what I love about it; When I had long day and needed comfort, Chamomile soothed its way in. Chai was a common tea of choice for a good heart to heart with friends. PG black tea was the social tea and reminiscent of Sri Lankan family gatherings in England. Chrysanthemum tea reminds me of trips to China Town with my mom. So many of my fondest and best memories were created over a great cup of tea.
Over the years, I've come across many who tell me that they don't drink tea, and specifically that they don't drink tea because of the huge ritual involved - from sifting through the varieties of tea, investing in a tea strainer, familiarizing oneself with steep times, adding sugar, adding milk, on top of finding a moment to enjoy a cup of tea amidst a busy day. This is really the reason why Tea Drops was born -- to spread the love of tea to as many people as possible by making the tea process simple and accessible.
Where did the name of your store come from?
Tea Drops was born from my sheer passion for tea and desire to simplify the tea experience, so that it can be made accessible to as many people as possible. While I love the ritual of making tea the traditional way with loose leaf and steep times, I often found myself bouncing in between meetings but still wanting a high quality cup of tea. The notion of being able to drop a tea morsel in your cup, stir, and enjoy is what captivated me and inspired me to create Tea Drops. The name "Tea Drops" seemed like the perfect way to describe what this tea is about and how it works.
Why did you start making goods for Tea Drops?
As I described above - while I LOVE the ritual of making a traditional cup of tea, I realize that there are lots of steps and time involved. In between meetings, I still wanted to enjoy a high quality cup of tea, but simply didn't have the time for a full tea ritual. And so with listening ears, time, and experimentation, Tea Drops was born. Tea Drops break down the barriers that prevent so many from giving tea a try. Without sacrificing the use of fine tea leaves or taste, these little compact morsels are a jet plane route to enjoying the perfect cup of tea with literally no effort. If you can boil water, then you can enjoy an amazing cup of tea. Each Tea Drop is comprised on finely sourced tea, the best possible spices we could find, and natural and organic sugar. Natural, healthy, delicious, and easy.
What is your favorite item?
I am a sucker for black teas, my favorite tea is Masala Chai (the traditional kind with cream, spices, and sugar all combined). It is simply delicious! And so for my first Tea Drop launch, I wanted to pay homage to this Indian traditional tea. Hence, Cardamom Spice Tea Drops was born. It is a blissful blend of fresh cardamom spice, a tinge of ginger and cinnamon - combined with finely sourced black tea to create a bold and spiced black tea that will awaken your senses.
What is your most popular item?
Cardamom Spice, Citrus Ginger, and Rose Earl Grey Tea Drops
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
Literally everywhere I go! I was recently on a vacation in Georgia and enjoyed the Sourthern Sweet Tea so much, that I kept thinking about making a Sweet Tea Tea Drops version, and now that's in the works. Or if I'm eating a delectable dessert, I'm constantly thinking about how I can turn it into a Tea Drops flavor. I also love talking to our customers about teas they love and getting ideas from them on future tea launches.
Deliciousness is everywhere! I just always have to keep my eyes open :)
What makes your store unique?
We’ve been incredibly lucky to witness all of the positive receptivity to the Tea Drops experience. From the packaging, to the concept, to the taste - we’ve loved hearing our customers' excitement. And what I’ve realized is that people’s excitement extends beyond the tea itself, many are also drawn to the Tea Drops philosophy of simplicity, gratitude, and journeying towards a better self. We are not only a community of tea lovers, but so much of our brand is about encouraging everyone to evolve into the best version of themselves. From our weekly "Sunday Steepings" where we provide our community with an uplifting and introspective quote/advice to think about over a cup of tea, to our Tea Drops Ambassador program where we have a community of tea lovers across the U.S. who are championing the Tea Drops philosophy of simplicity, compassion, and gratitude through art, service projects, and writing.
What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?
Not having enough time in the day :)
Do you take custom orders?
Absolutely. If there is a particular Tea blend that you love and want to convert into a Tea Drop we are happy to do that for you.
Just give us 3-4 weeks to work on it. Custom boxes are $12/box
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
We are also located a few retail locations in Los Angeles: Bird Pick Tea & Herb (Pasadena & Culver City), Hoopla Gift Emporium (Altadena, CA), and Momo Gift Shop (Marina Del Rey, CA)
I just adore Sashee's story and how her personal experience with tea. Also, I can tell you by experience that the Tea Drops are super easy to use and absolutely delicious! Now to the giveaway, where a lucky reader will win a Variety Box of Tea Drops. U.S. residents may enter in the widget below, and...