Photo by Two Birds Marketing
Asheville Tea Company, a member of A-B Tech’s Small Business Incubation program, received an honorable mention in the Made in NC Awards sponsored by Our State Magazine and a finalist in the 2020 World Tea Best of Awards.
“We are just really excited and thrilled to be a finalist at all,” said Jessie Dean, Asheville Tea Company Founder. The nominations come on the heels of the company launching more eco-friendly packaging earlier this year.
The Made in NC Awards were announced September 30 when judges chose one winner and two honorable mentions in each category. Asheville Tea Company submitted their Elderberry Yaupon tea in the drink category.
In mid-October, Dean will find out how the company fared in the 2020 World Tea Best of Awards. They were nominated for the Best Tea Startup and are in the top three with companies from Australia and Iceland. The award recognizes a new tea business that’s a shining example of how to do things right.
The new packaging was something Dean was very excited to launch. “We are focused on three bottom lines. Profit is important but, also the planet and people. This package allows us to stay true to our values. It is much more eco-friendly than the tins. This whole box, including the tea bags inside, is biodegradable and plastic free. It’s much more environmentally friendly.”
Asheville Tea Company started in late 2016 when they initially started selling their products at tailgate markets and then expanding to selling online and wholesale, mainly in North Carolina.
The company works with farmers across the Southeast to ensure a farm-to-table cup every time. “We create craft teas featuring locally-grown ingredients,” Dean said. “Our mission is to source to as many of the ingredients we can. We believe that makes a huge difference to the community and environment. And the tea is fresher and better.”
When Dean had the idea to start the business, Jill Sparks, Executive Director of the Small Business Center was the first person she went to. “The Small Business Center is such a great resource right here,” Dean said. “Jill has been incredible and a really great guide on the way. And Duane (Adams) and Daphne (Carson) have all been instrumental in helping us grow.”
Asheville Tea Company joined the Business Incubation program at A-B Tech Enka last August and are based there, where they work and blend their 10 uniquely Asheville teas. Names such as Asheville Grey and Pisgah Breakfast speak to the region while blends like Chocolate Habanero Chai and Lemon Ginger Yaupon, give a caffeine boost. Yaupon is the only native North American caffeinated plant. “It’s a sustainable source of caffeine that grows in the Southeast,” Dean said.
Find more information at Asheville Tea Company