A chat with Mama Tea’s founder Anna Louise Simpson quickly reassures you that these ‘new releases’ in the herbal tea world are genuinely something different.
The idea first came to her while she was pregnant â€“ we all know how the tastebuds work differently during this time â€“ and she was looking for a caffeine free tea that really tastes good, not just good for you.
A corporate lawyer originally, Anna gave up work to try out a new career as an artist. She specialised in painting stilettos and found, she smiles wryly, that there was a limited market, so this wasn’t going to be a commercial venture. The time wasn’t wasted, however, as it gave her the opportunity to think about what she really wanted. And this turned out to be the ability to take charge of her own life, though with two children, now aged 3 and 17 months, she agrees that sounds like quite a challenge. Through the internet, Anna came across Mumpreneurs, an American group of mum-owned businesses, which summed up her own attitude to life and work and gave her the confidence to launch her own company.
“It’s all about balance,” she explains. “If it means I’m working after the children go to bed, that’s all right. I’m happy doing something I enjoy and that makes me a better mum.”
So, with tastebuds tickled, the idea of developing her own herbal tea recipes was born. Sourced from Germany where the dirt is exploded from the herbs, and where herbal teas are commonplace, the five flavours come as both leaf teas and tea bags. This has been achieved by working with a master tea blender to develop 5 blends of teas that are particularly beneficial to pregnant or nursing mums.
“We use the same herbs and flower heads in our loose teas and our tea bags,” Anna is quick to point out, “so the tea bags are not in any way inferior.”
As you will see from the flavours, these are not just your traditional peppermint tea for indigestion or chamomile tea for relaxing. Their complex blends are much more sophisticated and enjoyable.
Morning Mama: whole chamomile flower heads blended with spicy ginger root, lemon balm and finished off with some lemon peel and orange peel.
Glowing Mama: the earthy richness of rooibos is blended with the delicate white blossom of elderflowers, boosted with echinacea leaf and dandelion.
Cool Mama: a refreshing, minty tea that cools with gentle chamomile flower heads blended with whole spearmint leaves and marshmallow leaves.
Ready Mama: traditional raspberry leaf and motherwort are blended with fruity hibiscus and rosehip.
New Mama: Liquorice root sweetens up this lovely tea, and is flowing with other goodies such as fennel and fenugreek seeds, lemon balm, red clover and nettle leaf.
Full tasting notes can be found on Anna’s website mamatea.com
The business was launched in April 2009 and mama teas can be found in Waitrose already, though sadly only in England so far. If you have difficulty tracking them down, you can buy directly through the web site.