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Turning over a new leaf – from tourism to tea

December 11, 2020 Visit South Pacific No Comments Email Email

An international tourism company based in Queenstown has brewed up a new business idea, turning its hand to artisan tea.

Impact Escapes, which provided bespoke, off-the-beaten track tours in Sri Lanka pre-Covid, has launched Impact Tea, sourcing its produce from the tea estates it used to tour with visitors.

Co-founders Alex Musgrave and Sally Miller are the only suppliers of this type of small batch, artisan tea in New Zealand, which is hand-picked and hand-rolled in Sri Lanka.

“Sadly we’re not able to show Kiwis Sri Lanka at the moment, so we’re now bringing a taste of Sri Lanka to New Zealand thanks to the contacts we already had with growers,” Alex says.

The tea leaves come from four distinctly different estates, which rather than being blended together are all sold separately, making them a high-end tea-lovers dream, a ‘single estate tea’.

“In much the same way that people are now buying artisan beer or single-estate wines, there’s growing appreciation for fine tea,” says Alex.

“The flavours are guided by the weather and change slightly depending on the season, unlike highly processed and blended tea. Tea connoisseurs can definitely taste the difference.”

Impact Tea is selling pure Ceylon tea, which is notoriously difficult to source in New Zealand.

Alex and Sally were struck by the idea for Impact Tea not only to support themselves in a post-Covid world, but also the estate owners, workers and friends in Sri Lanka.

The estates they work with are owned and managed ethically, including fair and proper payment and treatment for staff.

“It was our top priority to work with ethically managed and run estates and thanks to our already-existing relationships, we were able to ensure that happened. We’re happy to continue to support these small operators in Sri Lanka,” says Alex.

Impact Tea works in partnership with the Tea Leaf Trust, which provides education and educational facilities to estate workers and their children.

“Every sip of Impact Tea connects the drinker to the picker and helps improve their lives and the area they live in. It’s the ultimate win-win,” says Alex.

Loose leaf Impact Tea can be purchased online or in select Queenstown stores and markets.

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