When I notice something trend, it’s like I have to check my sanity. “Did I see the same post twice, or did I see another post from a similar brand?” I had to ask myself this again as I watched one influencer film herself making tea and serving it in a double-walled clear glass mug. Another one I spotted took a flat lay of her loose leaf tea picks.
Perfect Week, a tea brand that launched last May 2020, soon approached me to try some of their blends. My suspicion of a trend flourishing were confirmed. In between people making their bread and turning into at-home baristas, people love loose-leaf combinations for their afternoon fix as opposed to the usual commercial teabags.
I asked Angel Vicente, proprietor of Perfect Week, her take on it. She also gave me a little insider look at starting a local business.
How’s it like to handle Perfect Week on your own?
It’s a solo-flight business for me. I print and label the tea pouches myself, make the marketing collaterals, and manage sales and shipping. It’s quite a handful for one person, but I do have a steady network of suppliers. I also have a full-time job in a tech retail company, so I take all the help I can get from my family too.
The launch was a bit more hectic as it was right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. We managed to launch after months of preparation, and we are so fortunate to have sold out our initial stock of 100 tea pouches in the first week. For larger batches, I do outsource help for the preparation of the orders, but on the typical day-to-day, it’s just me.
What’s the story behind your business?
It started with a craving for Chai Tea that I could only buy at a famous coffee shop for PHP 250. For the longest time, I was annoyed that no local brand could offer that Chai Tea, which I can make at home for cheap.
My hunt for “great Chai Tea at home” was answered by an excellent mother-daughter team I discovered online. They make a Chai Tea blend along with other loose-leaf teas. From there, a business idea came about, and my own Chai Tea blend, “Let’s Bounce” (black tea with cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, clove, and vanilla).
Where do you source your products?
Some of the loose-leaf teas are sourced locally from Davao, while some are from trusted overseas suppliers from Egypt, India, and Taiwan. The rest of the dried fruit pieces, herbs, and spices that we use are from local suppliers.
Currently, we have seven tea blends made with ingredients that are available all year-round while we also release unique combinations every month, depending on what’s in season.
Our most unique blend to date is “Room For Dessert,” which is red carnation tea with goji berry and dried orange pieces. It’s a citrusy drink perfect for a tanggal umay feeling after a big meal. We are also big fans of our hibiscus tea blends: “Sangria Sunset,” “Peach Sky,” and “Summer Fling” — all are perfect for cold brewing.
Why do you think loose leaf teas are becoming the new Instagram trend?
It’s been getting more attention lately since people are all about taking life slow and making time for the things they love. I believe tea embodies that idea so much because you can’t rush making tea. There is some wait in preparing it, but the payout is worth it. I think more people are beginning to see and experience that for themselves. Plus, loose-leaf tea is a more visually intricate process.
Unlike other drinks, people can make tea and drink tea any time of day. This is especially great for people who are prone to palpitations or simply don’t want a caffeine rush. Even caffeinated tea will not make you feel as buzzed as the usual cup of coffee.
What are the advantages of loose-leaf teas?
For loose-leaf teas, two things come to mind: quality and eco-friendliness.
Since you’re steeping actual loose-leaf tea, you get to enjoy a bolder flavor from the tea. Commercial tea bags have a bitter aftertaste. Some are okay with that, but it doesn’t work for most.
Flavor variety is also limited in terms of those available in grocery stores as they only have the common ones like green tea and black tea. If you want to try the unique blends, you have to look for it in more prominent tea brands, which are also quite pricey.
Loose-leaf tea can also be steeped a few more times, so you get more from the teas you love. It lessens landfill waste since you can directly repurpose the loose-leaf tea. You can use it as a plant fertilizer or a home deodorizer.
There are also loads of reusable tea infusers, French presses, and teapots, so you don’t have to use disposable teabags every time you steep. It’s a small act, but these are some of the things that commercial tea brands need to catch up on.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.