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‘Hand-picked tea tastes better than automated plucked tea’ 

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Paul Davis from tea infuser Mosi is on a mission to make hand-picked garden tea more accessible. “We want people to understand just how much better this cup of tea is… not just on flavor, but also in the benefits that you get from the tea in the form of antioxidants, polyphenols and more!”

When did your interest in garden picked tea start?
Ironically, I didn’t really understand what garden-picked tea was until after starting a tea company. My interest in tea in general started while living in Zimbabwe. My family and I were missionaries, and we would often visit villages where we would be greeted with a fire, tea, and conversation. I guess you could say that for most of my life I have had interest in what I experienced while drinking tea. Over the past few years, I’ve definitely learned and grown interested in the plant, the process, location, and people associated with garden estates. It’s rooted in deep tradition and pride, and in my opinion there’s nothing like a cup of garden-picked tea.

What is so special about garden picked tea?
The quality of the tea leaves that are picked… emphasis on picked. Our teas specifically are hand picked so that we can ensure the higher quality leaves are being used. A lot of people may not know that you don’t just plunk any leaves from a camellia sinensis (tea) plant. The best plunk would be one stem that includes two leaves and a bud… this is only at the top of the plant, and considered the golden standard in tea quality. Being able to consistently get 2 leaves and a bud relies on a stringent process, temperature, soil quality, plucking process, pest management, and more. It’s crazy hard to get good mature tea plants to produce tea with such quality, and that’s why not everyone does it. Most companies won’t use hand-picked tea because of the time considerations… Instead, they will literally use machines to shave off the leaves, which even if sorted will always contain twigs and lesser quality leaves that negatively affect the quality of the brew. Hand-picked, two leaves and a bud tea will always produce the better cuppa.

What are your plans with garden picked tea?
At Mosi, we want to make hand-picked garden tea more accessible. We want people to understand just how much better this cup of tea is… not just on flavor, but also in the benefits that you get from the tea in the form of antioxidants, polyphenols and more. We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” but have you heard “you are what you drink?” If you’re buying tea bags especially but even low quality loose leaf tea, chances are you are drinking the fannings (or dust) from higher quality tea. Basically the stuff in tea bags is considered to be the unwanted part of the manufacturing process. It’s not going to have the same flavor or benefits.

What gardens have you visited and what teas did you pick from these gardens and why?
We’ve visited a bunch of gardens, but we select the various gardens based on their processes (and quality) as well as the teas we want to offer. Different gardens will have different expertise. For example, the garden we use for our Masala Chai uses a process called CTC (Cut Tear Curl), which allows the manufacturing process to create a black tea that are almost little balls of tea (best form for chai). Another estate will process the whole leaf which we can then blend with Rose Petals to create our Rose Black tea, a delicious black tea with subtle floral sweetness. Once we find a great partner, there are all kinds of opportunities to develop different blends, so we want to find gardens with these stringent processes that can also scale.

Any favorite garden picked tea and why?
I’m a fan of simple, which generally is Mosi’s approach to tea. As for my personal favorites, it definitely depends on the time of day. In the morning, most of the time I am just drinking our Morning Black tea (which is pure whole leaf black tea from Assam). In the afternoon, I enjoy our Green Mint tea (a great balance of green tea and mint that takes away the “grassy” nature of green tea). And in the evening, I really enjoy winding down with our Rooibos Lavender herbal tea (which is technically not a tea, but has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits and is great for sleep).

And very under-rated, but I’ll occasionally put my mad scientist hat on and create tea-inspired spirits for delicious cocktails. Aside from Mosi’s All in One Infuser making it easy to brew any tea, you can also add spirits in it and steep for anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours so that tea flavor upgrades your typical cocktail. I recommend our Black Rose and your favorite bourbon for a Black Rose old fashioned, or our Rooibos Lavender and gin for a delicious night cap gin and tonic!

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