There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary,” something that Art of Tea owner and Master Tea Blender Steve Schwartz has clearly taken to heart. From Endurance, a stimulative blend with pu-erh, cinnamon, and goji berries, to Cleanse, with ginger, fennel, and cacao to enhance clarity and balance, every one of the Los Angeles based label’s fifteen Ayurveda Wellness Blends is a fragrant remedy in a cup. And they’re gorgeous, to boot.
Schwartz first became interested in the healing powers of botanicals after the death of his mother from cancer. Looking for alternative healing modalities he discovered Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing from India, went to study at
the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, and became an expert in the different properties of roots, leaves, fruits, barks and seeds, and the blending of medicinal teas.
“I’m a tea nerd,” Schwartz admits. “I began traveling the world sourcing ingredients because, just like wine, I found tea and botanicals can have a different flavor profile depending on how and where it is grown.”
Now in its tenth year, The Art of Tea has won multiple awards (Mandarin Silk has been named Best Oolong twice) and is a staple in hip LA dining spots like Gjelina, Bestia, and Hinoki & The Bird, as well as institutions like the Beverly Hills Hotel and Fred Segal. Schwartz however still spends much of his time in Asia, the birthplace of true tea, seeking out rare and unique ingredients, developing close relationships with farmers and distributors and tasting hundreds of teas. “Teas should have beauty, brains, and depth,” he says of his approach. “Taste comes first, organic and sustainable where possible—but wellness is a given.”
That’s even more true with his Ayurveda Wellness Blends. Hand picked and created in small batches to order, the efficacious blends look and smell more like beautiful potpourris, full as they are of dried fruits and seeds, whole flowers, superfoods like goji berries and cacao nibs, superleafs like guayasa and yerba mate, and healing adaptogens like ginseng, ashwaganda, and schizandra.
But Schwartz says the most beneficial aspect of tea can be what happens before you even take a sip. “The process of selecting the leaves, preparing the water, and the sound of it pouring can engage the senses and be a meditative process that can create a mindfulness for the rest of the day.” —Rachel Marlowe
For more information, visit www.theartoftea.com