To answer the great John Lennon, too much and not enough, tbh!!
At Ela's we started off as a company with an honest down to earth target of delivering simple everyday teas, that people all know, but using better ingredients.
For instance, our green is high grown organic green tea blended with a smidge of moringa, the miracle herb. Why? well, people like the idea of green but not the astringency so adding moringa makes itt tastes better and smoother so why not? Our black teas too, use only hand plucked leaves from high grown regions ensuring that the cup you get is vibrant with or without milk BUT hey we can all claim that!
Irrespective of good intentions and a simple creed, great tea at a good price, we were smacked down by covid and are only now starting to reemerge, after a fight for survival which saw us, not pivot but, swerve hard right
into packing for others which we still do to this day and are forever grateful to our partners in this relationship. However we never gave up on Ela's as a concept.
It still stands for great quality but we have, through our private label relationships, understood what a crazy category we are in; it's constantly evolving, around health, variety and flavour. I can honestly say that we do not pack a single blend for more than one client but we pack a lot of blends and single botanicals too. So, yes, we change but not for Ela's, for whom the concept remains mundane but uncommonly rare. Good tea, procured efficiently, sold at value and with real visceral ambition to ensure sustainability for everyone in the making of our teas, oh and no BS!
New to our stable of offerings has been Assam tea from Iron Kettle ( Iron Kettle's Commitment to Small Tea Growers and Fine Leaf Tea" (iron-kettle.com) ) as they are on a resonant journey, to bring relevance to Smallholder manufacture, so often mired by the loss of control, for the sake of pseudo romantic imagery. It's not that Smallholders are not the future of tea, they are, but they live a precarious existence without access to finance, markets, education and self determination.
Currently, any tea procured through them carries a smart code linking that tea to the very farmers who plucked the leaf. from which the tea was made. Not unique in itself but we are now engaged in a process to measure a living income for those farmers and ensure that our bit delivers that! Not certified, no admin costs just sweat equity. More to come on this as we go.
We did certify ourselves organic this year, something we were not contemplating for Ela's but absolutely necessary for our PL friends, and what a maze that is!
For a while now, we have been wary of our impact and it was one of the main reasons we chose a single chambered teabag format, 35% less paper (by weight) than a flow through bag!
We had already made the switch to plastic free compostable paper but, adding a tag and string to this makes the claim academic so we have, for the most part, started to pack naked bags.
We still provide tag and enveloped product, it's required in many channels but more and more we are pushing customers and consumers towards a reduced footprint option, including away from boxes to resealable bags, which save on distribution costs.
What we are most proud of though is that we have created all these formats from the same machine platform; we are obsessed with practical ingenuity over expansion, saving costs, footprints and sticking with the old adage that a teabag is a vehicle for delivering great tea, that's it!
Our naked, plastic free, teabag, with footprint for string still evident. Proof of a reduction in packaging.
So Mr Lennon, definitely not enough but busy as heck doing not enough.
We have aims of completing the following in 2024
A living income model for Farmers which we shall gladly share
A new range of cracking loose leaf teas without the BS
A line of seasonal offerings, starting with Spring (Holiday tea is on the site)
Continuing to service our tea drinking friends with personalized service and listening to their suggestions!
Happy Holidays and a great new year