Innovative Ingestibles at the Northside Marketplace (1 of 6)

Tea Dude – Loose Tea Blends 

When and how was your business born? 

Tea Dude was born in 2014. My mom was going through some medical issues, which kept her from a traditional job. I had the free time to start something new to help keep her busy. We got together some supplies and ingredients for teas, booked a Crafty Mart booth, and Tea Dude was born. I think at our first show we had two or three options ready for purchase. I finished the logo for the company about a day before we were supposed to be selling things. I’ll never forget how inviting and supportive the vendors were for a first timer. 

What attracted you to The World of Tea? 

Working in the food service industry, you tend to gravitate towards highly caffeinated, very sugary, generally unhealthy drinks to keep up your energy levels to get through a shift. I just decided one day there had to be a better way to make it through the day. Tea offered a satisfactory level of caffeine for energy, and had some added health benefits to it as well. I also really liked how it tasted cold. Adding other herbs, flowers, and spices can change up the taste significantly as well. It was the perfect substitute for soft drinks.

How do you get to be creative in your work? 

My customers know that sometimes I totally go off the rails. I like to try new things, and at this point I think that creativity is expected. I get to experiment with flavor profiles that haven’t really been popularized in tea yet. My culinary experience gives me ideas about what I can do differently than other tea companies.

Which tea are you most proud of? 

Probably my Meeg’s Tea. My wife does not drink caffeine, and I wanted to make her a special fall spiced tea she could enjoy. It turned out to be one of my personal favorites as well. She calls it “Fall in a Cup.” It always takes a while to get the ingredients to balance so that nothing is overpowering, but this one was perfectly balanced in about a week as opposed to months. It came together perfectly.

Do you pursue any artistic hobbies? 

Not as much anymore. There is an artistry to creating recipes, I guess. My current love is technology. I enjoy coming up with little projects to see what I can make. I made a retro gaming handheld that I could play with a small monitor mounted on my glasses once. And I’ve taken up 3d printing, I could always use more time for that.

What’s in development right now? 

Right now I am trying to perfect a new sun tea. I have the base flavors down, but I feel like it is missing something that could make it better. More on that as it develops!

Learn more at www.teaduder.com and follow on Facebook @teaduder or Instagram @tea_dude.