MANHASSET, NY – SerendipiTea celebrates its 20th Anniversary this week with renewed commitment to its founding principles.
In 1995 Tomislav Podreka and Linda Villano launched the company from a 5th floor walk-up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Two years later they had outgrown the apartment and moved to Southwestern Connecticut where they established themselves as a premium supplier of organic tea and tisanes. The company imported hand-crafted teas and botanicals from suppliers who demonstrated deep commitment to environmentally and socially responsible practices, says Villano.
“We have always viewed tea from a culinary perspective,” said Villano. “The fact that tea and other botanicals have countless healthy benefits for the consumer is a big plus. I come from a culinary family where all we consumed was highly scrutinized for quality, origin, and purity; this practice translated naturally to our approach to tea,” she said.
Not only were the teas certified organic, packaging was recyclable, sustainable and biodegradable.
“Organic and natural selections of all products (tea, coffee, food, plants, clothing, soaps, cleansers, etc.) was in keeping with the overall lifestyle we (Tomislav & I) led and I still lead,” said Villano. “Over the years, thankfully, sourcing organic tea & botanicals has become quite simple as there are so many excellent gardens from which to choose.
The same principals that guided the company the past two decades remain as the company expanded operations in New York City and later in Manhasset where in 2007 it built a retail showroom, administrative offices and production facilities which are certified organic by QAI.
Villano has always been a strong advocate of tea education, lecturing at trade events and offering the public insights from her travels. She seeks to “raise respect and awareness of tea to levels enjoyed around the world.
An expert in blending, SerendipiTea has a vast assortment of certified organic, single estate, direct trade conventional teas along with traditional blends and recipes. The company produces loose leaf and single serve t-sachets in retail, foodservice and bulk formats. Blending and packing is done onsite.
“Blending is a fun part of the business,” said Villano. “Inspiration strikes so many different ways be it a flash of memory, a passing aroma, tastes experienced while dining in any variety of multi-cultural establishments here in the states or while traveling abroad.”
“Certainly not every attempt makes the grade! There are some frightful attempts that end up in the Frankenstein file,” she laughs, offering these words of advice: “Practice, practice, practice.”
The company’s hot and iced tea blends have won numerous awards including recognition in the North American Tea Championship. Recent winners include Charlie Chan Cha and A Fruit Medley with apples and apricots.
SerendipiTea is available online at www.serendipitea.com and featured in fine restaurants and specialty grocers including the Culinary Institute of America, Dean & DeLuca, Fresh Direct and Zabar’s.