Story and Photos by Marjorie Magazine
This article originally appeared in our 2019 issue. Find the magazine here for purchase.
Nothing softens the blow of everyday demands like a favorite drink. Especially for tea, the mixture of fruits, flowers, and herbs presents a delicate taste that seems to transform you into different moods and memories that coffee may lack. As each sip is taken, a story unfolds, and with storytelling in mind we discovered that the loveliest blends were to be found with Tea Spectral.
Once an avid tea drink and stressed art student, founder Stef found that the local tea shop she frequented during her kept her calm and focused, even finding her first job out of college with them. From answering calls to helping with catering orders, the shop’s eventual relocation had her putting her Graphic Design degree with a focus on Corporate Identity to wonderful use. “I was able step in and help them with the delicate task of rebranding a 20 year old business to the scalable beauty that it is today,” Stef tells me. It was during this time that her mentor had remarked on whether or not Stef loved making art or tea more, and it stuck to her. And so with her two passions she embarked on a big move that would result in the beautifully-blended teas she sells under Tea Spectral.
“Tea culture is its own sort of magic for the fact that it takes the form of anything that the drinker needs,” Stef muses. “It can be dressed up, or dressed down, and be something beautiful. It has found a way to be ingrained in several countries cultures around the world, prepared in a way that reflects the people who drink it in return.” However you like to enjoy your tea, the blends housed within the Tea Spectral name are sure to surprise and suit its drinkers with each sip. Stef knows that for a truly delicious blend, there must be a balance between the quality of ingredients and consistency in flavor.
One of the first blends she created, Daydreamer, evokes something heavy but dreamy and sparks creativity, using notes of passion fruit and bergamot with lavender to ease anxiety but sharpen one’s focus. There’s Forest, a homage to magic and adventures from tales of J.R.R. Tolkien and Brian Jacques with cinnamon and cloves, and the sultry and spicy Nocturnal Notes inspired by Noir films. As her teas are heavily inspired by books and films, Stef recommends that the best way to make the most of your Tea Spectral experience is by getting better acquainted with your local library, and to explore what old beauties your hometown has to offer. “We [Stef and her husband Eugene] also love to travel about to historical locations and stroll with a cup of tea and take it in,” she recommends. Living in Los Angeles, she owes more tea time outdoors to the warm weather, or finds herself curled up with a book and vintage vinyl on when the chilly months roll in. A tea’s flavor is one thing, but stimulating one’s imagination and feelings of content as they enjoy their hot cup is what truly makes a drinker wish for a second cup or more. Not to mention, its smell.
“Our creation process reminds me of perfume,”Stef explains. Considering the taste alone, followed by the rich texture of each blend, the notes that make the enticing scent come into play as well. “That sensation of opening the sealed bag and taking your first smell is very impressionable.”
Tea Spectral today is a small but wonderful corner of the world where each tea is a joy to sip and inspire. Looking back, Stef tells us, “After all these years I’ve come to realize that there is no wrong or right way to prepare this brew.”Be it dressed up in an elegant Japanese tea set or a bulky mug with a funny inscription, tea never disappoints. But most of all, Stef knows that for the classic stories and activities that tea time resembles to her, she’s thankful for modern vintage movements like on Instagram or meetups where tea Hauntiers within understand and appreciate the timeless tradition that is gathering around tea. Simply indulging in these simple pleasures and styles of bygone golden eras are just one way to strip down our busy modern lives to get back in touch with life as it goes by, and what better drink than those of Tea Spectral to really capture those moments.
In creating a product that she herself truly loves, Stef keeps this simple truth in mind with each new blend she creates, for this is her legacy that future Hauntiers can trace their own tea passions to– that first sip of a delicious blend from Tea Spectral, and more like a well-rounded memory, than a few loose leaf ends.
We’ve summarized our favorite blends from Tea Spectral below:
Shop your favorite blend today and learn more about Tea Spectral at teaspectral.com