Belsize Park couple's mission to popularise loose leaf tea
PUBLISHED: 13:20 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:10 12 November 2019
Tatjana and Tom founded monthly loose leaf tea subscription service Teapro after tasting a 'gobsmacking' green tea from Camden
Based in Belsize Park, teapro is a tea subscription company co-founded by Tatjana Apukhtina and her partner Tom.
Their mission to re-popularise loose leaf tea is grounded in a belief that "it's better for our health, our environment and quite frankly tastes a million times better."
Subcribers get a glass diffuser in their first box with four 20 gramme samples of different teas, and a brochure to help educate the uninitiated in the process, history and unique varities.
Tea types covered since they launched in April have included herbal, white, green and oolong, sourced from suppliers in Japan, China, South America and Europe.
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"Like everyone else I started off with tea bags but we noticed that tea, especially green tea overbrewed easily and would get really bitter. Through research we realised tea fans prefer loose leaf tea so we went to a shop in Camden Town which sells it and bought one called Dragon Well. We were so gobsmacked by how different it tasted to what you get in the supermarket. We realised most supermarkets don't even stock loose leaf tea and not many people know how real tea tastes."
Leaf tea often comes from the best quality part of the plant, doesn't overbrew as easily, and with recent stories linking some bags to leaked microplastics in your cuppa, is better for both the planet and our bodies.
"Part of the reason why people might not drink it, is it feels like so much hassle, but our glass infuser is so easy to use and clean," says Apukhtina.
"There are hundreds of varieties of teas from China, Japan, even Korea, Vietnam and Hawaii, and it can be overwhelming so we came up with a tea journey to help them learn and understand more about how it's processed and what's special about the samples."
She is relaxed on the controversial question of how long to steep and what to serve tea with - milk, lemon, two minutes, three?
"It depends how many leaves you use, in China they use a lot of tea and steep it for just 30 seconds, but the beauty of a glass infuser is when it's ready, you know."