season 2 | ep. 21

the bigger

with Chantrelle Edwards

Chantrelle Edwards

steeping together podcast
- season 2 | Ep. 21

the bigger picture

with Chantrelle Edwards

august 2022
Length: 55:53 see all
Listen on:

episode transcript

Marika de Vienne 0:18

Welcome everyone to another episode of Steeping Together, the podcast where we explore the vast world of tea, over a cup of tea with tea enthusiast. I'm your tea-obsessed host Marika and as usual, I am delighted to be with you all here today. I am really happy to speak with our guest today Chantrelle Edwards. Chantrelle started a tea company five years ago called Hella Tea in Oakland, California. Now, the first time I laid my eyes on Hella Tea, I knew that I was in for a unique experience. From the all-black packaging to the logo of a cassette tape. Yes, a cassette tape, do you remember those? Because I do! And with fanciful names that were inspired by the people of Oakland, rappers, politicians, athletes, there was no doubt in my mind that this company had a singular vocation and approach unlike anything I have ever seen in the tea landscape in my many years working in it. So without further ado, I would like to introduce Chantrelle so that we may dive into her story, her process, and her tea. Welcome Chantrelle!

Chantrelle Edwards 1:26

Hey, how are you?

Marika de Vienne 1:29

I'm very good. You know, I have to apologise, as a French Canadian. I say your name as “Chant-relle,” because I know that's not how it's pronounced but…

Chantrelle Edwards 1:39

Love it. Yes. It's “Chan-trelle.”

Marika de Vienne 1:43

Chantrelle. Okay, I'm gonna work my darndest I swear. I mean, I get–I don't like it when people mispronounce my name, I hate to do it to others.


It’s like the mushroom.


Exactly, exactly. And it's one of my favourites which is why my instinct is to say it that way, but Chantrelle, thank you for taking the time to join us. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself the way you would like to be introduced?

Chantrelle Edwards 2:13

My name is Chantrelle Edwards, born and raised in Oakland, California, and I am the Chief Leaf of Hella Tea.

Marika de Vienne 2:23

Haha! Chief leaf, I have never heard that. Glorious. I love it. It's so perfect. Perfect, oh my god.


The TEO.


Exactly, the TEO of Hella Tea. Well, I spent quite a bit of time on your website, and I went to the About Us section and rarely do I read an About Us and become inspired. And so I'm just going to read it for our listeners. It's very short, very concise. It reads: Hella Tea is a black woman owned loose leaf tea company located in Oakland, California. We specialise in artisanal tea blends that pay homage to the diverse population of the Bay Area and its undeniable hip hop culture. Our pun intended flavours are a nod to the people, artists, and influencers who make the Bay Area unique. At Hella Tea, our mission is to offer an international tea experience accessible to an overlooked and underserved demographic while raising awareness around its health benefits. I don't usually read an About Us and immediately go, tell me more! You know like usually it's a little dry, you know, usually it's a little like, Okay, this is us and we do this and this is how you contact us. And like I read your About Us, and immediately just wanted to know more. I want to know this story. I want to know how this came about. So could you tell us a little bit about your story? Like what was the inspiration for Hella Tea? I mean, I have so many questions, but let's start there. What was the inspiration?

Chantrelle Edwards 4:06

My inspiration for Hella Tea is because of my love for my hometown, Oakland, California. The hip hop culture, the diverse people, and my passion for tea. So that's how Hella Tea, you know, came about.

Marika de Vienne 4:23

I think a lot of people, I mean I've met a lot of people who have started tea companies, want to start tea companies, and the natural inclination is to kind of make it–I don't want to say nondescript but like, we want to appeal to everyone so we're going to make it a tea company expert X name and just you know, market it as such. Hella Tea has such a distinct voice. And a lot of the times when you'll see tea companies that are like that niche, the quality of the product doesn't always follow. Sometimes it's all about the packaging, all about the marketing, all about the, you know. So when I first had Hella Tea, I was like, I honestly opened the package and I thought to myself, Please Lord, let this be good, please!


It’s hella good.


It’s hella good! And that’s what happened, it’s hella good. So it's not just like a marketing strategy. It's not just a way to sell. It's really a pride in where you're from, a pride in the product and wanting to show a side of tea that many of us have never seen before, and how it can reach such a diverse audience and diverse group of people.

Chantrelle Edwards 5:40

And that's why I came up with Hella Tea because I wanted to create a brand, you know, that people can enjoy and relate to. People that normally don't drink tea, they can relate to the hip hop era, and the tea puns. So that's why I created that. Like, I have people that buy tea that normally doesn't drink tea, because of the names. And eventually they weaned off coffee, so that's a good thing. I'm not like hating, I'm not hating on the coffee industry, but I'm just saying.

Marika de Vienne 6:17

You know, as tea people, we may have ulterior motives when we introduce tea to coffee drinkers. If they come to our side, fine. It's not a war, but you know, the more the merrier at the tea party, quite frankly! Yeah, I think, I know from, you know, my own background, my dad's white, my mom's black from the West Indies and introducing tea to the black members of my family is always interesting, because it is a part of our history and a part of our culture, but it's deeply rooted in colonialism and oppression. And you know, the British tea time is viewed as well, that's what the coloniser kind of imposed on us. And it's really important for like, we can't deny that history. We cannot ignore that history. We cannot forget that history. It's a part of what we, you know, we interact with this product every day. It's a part of who we are. But we can claim it as our own because tea is for everyone.


Yes, I agree.


Yeah. So I was just really, really excited when I saw your company. So excited when I saw the names like, can we talk–we've circled around the names. Can you give us some of the names of your teas?

Chantrelle Edwards 7:33

So I have M. Tea Hammer, inspired by MC Hammer. I have E-4 Tea, inspired by rapper E-40. I have Don't Give Me No Bammer Tea.

Marika de Vienne 7:49

Sorry, I just paused because–Don't Give Me No Bammer Tea, you had to explain it to me. I was like, I don't get it. And now it's become my mantra. Like when my husband is gonna make me a cup of tea. He's like, What do you want to drink? I'm like you pick but don't give me no bama tea. So I do want to give a little explanation for our listeners who may have been like me like what does that mean?

Chantrelle Edwards 8:14

Right, so Don’t Give Me No Bammer Tea is inspired by a rap group out of San Francisco called RBL Posse. And back in the early 90s they came up with a song called Don't Give Me No Bammer Weed, which is don't give me any bad weed. Like I don’t want the brown stuff. Give me the green stuff.

Marika de Vienne 8:39

And yeah, so don't give me any bad tea, give me a good cup…!

Chantrelle Edwards 8:44


Marika de Vienne 8:45

So the names are inspired like from people, from hip hop artists as we said, also from like, popular songs of the time, of that era. That cassette tape time. My favourite name of yours, and I mispronounce it every time, apparently this is the episode where I'm just mispronouncing things left and right, but it's Chamo-ma Harris Tea? I can't say it.

Chantrelle Edwards 9:14

Chamo-La Harris, which is inspired by our vice president Kamala Harris. And so I named it after her, Chamo-La, C-H-A-M-O. Named it after her, she loves chamomile.

Marika de Vienne 9:36

It's so perfect. Yeah no, it's a beautiful chamomile tea. And yeah, she's a tea drinker, which is so exciting.

Chantrelle Edwards 9:47

You know, she's from the Bay Area. So of course I had to name a tea after her.

Marika de Vienne 9:52

Yeah no, gotta pay homage. Yeah your website also has pictures of you know, more celebrities than I've ever met certainly! You have a lot of fans out there, you have a lot of really cool people who are fans of your tea, including the Vice President, which is quite the feather in your cap, you know!

Chantrelle Edwards 10:15

Yeah, never thought in a million years that this can happen.

Marika de Vienne 10:19

While hey, hard work, good ideas, and you know, a generous spirit will get you far. And I think you've got all three of those things. So that's wonderful.


Thank you.


So why do you love tea? I mean, it sounds silly. But if you've dedicated a portion of your life to this beverage, like why do you love tea, Chantrelle?

Chantrelle Edwards 10:44

I love tea because it helps me cope with stress and anxiety. It helps me to relax. And it's a great way to, you know, converse with friends and family. And I just believe that tea sets the mood for any occasion. You know, we crack jokes, we cry, we just have a good time while drinking tea, like tea is a conversation starter.

Marika de Vienne 11:13

I couldn't agree more. I think a lot of people, you know not to throw shade on anybody. I mean, we've already thrown shade on the coffee industry, not to throw shade on anybody else! But I think when a lot of people think of gatherings, the natural predilection to choose alcohol comes up. Like somehow we all need to be like, relaxed to be around one another. But you and I know that tea can just generate the most fascinating conversations. I mean, some of my most life-changing conversations have happened over a cup of tea.


Right, exactly.


So yeah, it's great to be able to unite people over this beverage and to, you know, bring them something unique and different. I mean, it's a conversation starter, and you don't, it's not like us, you don’t talk tea for the next six hours with everyone, you know! But it's a good way to get that conversation going, you know, and it's a really welcoming and kind environment that you can create with tea. I mean, not to say that I haven't had some pretty bangin’ tea parties in my day, but…!

Chantrelle Edwards 12:21

Quite a few great tea parties, you know, with my kids, they love drinking tea. Like they take tea to school. Like, it's normal. They normalise drinking tea. They get it from they mama!

Marika de Vienne 12:38

Well, that's wonderful. That's a great drink to introduce to you know, kids of a certain age, depending on caffeine levels. But I mean, yeah, my kids sometimes drink tea. They're a little young. But the interest in my eldest is growing. Like this morning, she asked me for a cup of tea. And I was like, All right, here we go, here we go. So how do you think the introduction of your company has changed the way tea is perceived within the black community or the larger community? Because as I said, such a distinctive voice. Like what's the impact that you've seen?

Chantrelle Edwards 13:12

I believe that it removes the misconception that tea can be enjoyed by a select few. Like I created my brand to break down barriers between the urban community and tea lovers from all over the globe. I wanted to create something like I said earlier, accessible, enjoyable, relatable that everyone can, you know, just relate to.

Marika de Vienne 13:43

I think, I think you've done it. I don't, I don't want to, I don't like to tell people their business, Chantrelle. I don't like to tell people their business. But you know, I have been in the tea industry for a very, very long time, be it sourcing or selling or, you know, tea industry conferences, you name it, like, I've probably been there. And for a very long time, I have been one of the few women of colour in those environments. And it was always shocking to me, because a lot of the times I was the only woman, like forget the other stuff! It's a very male dominated industry. It's very dominated by certain communities. That I have to say, have always been very welcoming of me. This was not, I don't have a tragic story to impart, like oh woe is me, you know, like always very, very welcoming. But it's hard not to notice, you know, it's hard to be at that table and be like, Am I, am I alone? You know, am I the only one? And in I'd say the last 10 years, there's been this emergence of the diversification of the tea world. Be it through communities in Southeast Asia being represented here in North America, bringing their product here themselves, be it from other communities, you know, who grew up within North America, making their own voice heard through tea. And I–this is only the second time that we've spoken with each other. But I feel like you may not fully comprehend how impactful Hella Tea has been. Does that sound like I'm telling you your business?

Chantrelle Edwards 15:34

Yes! My son tells me all the time, my family tells me all the time, there's like you have such an impact on everybody, not just in the Bay, but just worldwide, because they can relate to your brand.

Marika de Vienne 15:54

I feel like you're a very humble woman. How does that make you feel?

Chantrelle Edwards 15:58

It makes me feel great. You know, I've been through a lot of things in my life. And I feel that everything that I've been through, humbled me. I'm talking from, you know, my 17 year old brother getting murdered in the streets of Oakland. Being homeless, no money. Watching my mother take her last breath. Actually, I gave her permission to go, she had breast cancer. And she was holding on and I just whispered in her ear. I said, it's okay to go. And like 26 minutes later, she went, she passed away. And I just think that all the trials and tribulations that I've been through, it humbled me. I just look at life differently. Like, I can't, I can't tell somebody that they're gonna get well, if I've never been sick.


Yeah, well said. Well said.


So I just go by experience. So everything I've experienced in life has humbled me.

Marika de Vienne 17:28

Well I feel very un-humbled right now. I mean!


You’re so funny.


No, but I mean, you know, I hear your story and I hear the immense challenges that you've been through, you know, challenges that I can't even, I can't even speak to having that kind of experience in my life. I have had a very privileged, very fortunate–I'm a very lucky woman. And it's important to acknowledge when you, you know, I hate when people say, Oh, I know what you mean. Chantrelle, I'm here to say, I don't know what you mean but I am listening. Because all of those experiences that you went through, made you the woman that you are today. And I think if I tell most company owners, do you know how important your voice is in the world of tea? Their answer is, yes, yes I do know how important I am, look at how amazing I am.

Chantrelle Edwards 18:27

Right. Like, it can be taken away at any second. It was given to you, it can be taken away. And that's why I just try to remain humble. Because I know where I started. I started this business with $100 in stand-up pouches. And Avery labels.


Are you serious? $100?


I'm serious. $100. Stand-up pouches and Avery labels. With no help on anyone. No loans, no grants. I just built this from the ground up with $100. I was broke, I was hella broke.


Oh man!


And it just turned into this brand that I never thought could–I mean, I just never thought the impact I would have on people.

Marika de Vienne 19:27

Sorry I'm tearing up sorry, cause–


Oh I’m sorry.


No no, don't apologise! Just because, you know, you hear so much about, you know, the entrepreneurial spirit, how if you want it, just do it, you know, and it often comes from a certain demographic of people who have loans, like you say, and access and inroads and all of these kinds of things. I mean, we just said it, and you shouldn't be repetitious in a podcast, but $100, bags, and labels and you've built this company. That is something to be immensely proud of, immensely proud of.

Chantrelle Edwards 20:06

I just remember the days of running to Office Depot to get labels made and they would come out crooked, I would put them on crooked.

Marika de Vienne 20:19

That’s so…it's funny now!

Chantrelle Edwards 20:24

The ink would run off the label.

Marika de Vienne 20:28

Oh god! I mean, it's wonderful that we're in a position to laugh about it now. I'm sure at the time, it must have just been a huge stressor and disappointment.

Chantrelle Edwards 20:37

There have been times where I didn't even have money to purchase the tea from the tea farmers, to sell the tea.

Marika de Vienne 20:46

Right, right. You know, just the basic transaction.


Humble beginnings.


That's amazing. That's really really really amazing. Well, humble beginnings. It's just, your story is so moving. It really is really, really moving. And that's why I was just so excited to talk with you today because it's a story that I think–I mean, all stories should be shared. Everyone has a story and everyone you know, should share what they've been through. That's one of the, my main beliefs in life, you know. But your story is just really unique and really, really beautiful. What do you think makes your approach unique? I mean, aside from the marketing, aside from the humble beginnings, aside from the cassette tape?–because I'm never going to get over the cassette tape logo, ever. I just want to put that out there. What do you want to give the tea drinker? Because at the end of the day, like I said, it could be very pretty but what do you want to give the person drinking your tea?

Chantrelle Edwards 21:47

I want to give each customer a great cup of tea with a Bay Area twist. And a great cup of tea starts with fresh ingredients and flavours that keep ‘em sipping.

Marika de Vienne 22:04

Keep them sipping, yeah. Because yeah, you can have teas that are a good like, I call them like “one sips” where you drink that and you go oh, that's an interesting flavour. But you want a mug tea, you know, you want a tea that people drink and every sip creates a different layer, creates a different perspective, gives you pause, takes you on an adventure, tells you a story. And you can only do that with you know, quality ingredients and care. Because you we were talking earlier, and you told me how you package your tea. I think everyone needs to hear it!

Chantrelle Edwards 22:45

Well, whenever I receive an order, I actually pack the order as soon as I get it, by hand. So they can, so each customer can experience the freshness of Hella Tea. Like it just doesn't like, sit around. Like I package it as soon as I get it so they can experience the freshness. I know I shouldn't do that because it can become overwhelming at times. But, you know, with Hella Tea growing, I'm going to switch that up a little bit.

Marika de Vienne 23:26

Right! Yeah cause I mean everything you've read in any business book on how to like, you know, get your orders going or prepare your packing and everything, goes against what you've just said. You should pack a minimum of 10, 15, 20, 100, whatever, in anticipation of those orders so that the order can get out quickly. But I think that really stems from our North American I need it now attitude, and the fact that you're still bringing care and attention to each and every order. I mean, you want everyone to have the optimal cup, the best possible experience, and you clearly are running slightly ragged in the attempt.

Chantrelle Edwards 24:09

That's why I need my Earl Grey every morning to keep me going.

Marika de Vienne 24:16

It's full circle, you need the tea to pack the tea.

Chantrelle Edwards 24:20

Yes, exactly. I need to be hyped up!

Marika de Vienne 24:24

Need to be hyped up. I just think it speaks to you know, you have growing success. People are talking about your tea a lot more. And you know, I hope you get help in packing and that you don't, you know, overwork yourself, but I love how it just speaks to your care and attention for each and every single person that's going to try your tea. It's not something you see very often just in the commercial landscape and the capitalist landscape, and I am sending all the good vibes to you so that you get help in your endeavours. But the intention behind it is just gorgeous.

Chantrelle Edwards 25:02

Yeah, yeah. People been calling like, I'll help you, I'll help you. Like I don't know. I just, that's just something I do. I’ll change that up, 2022.

Marika de Vienne 25:13

Manifestation for 2022!

Chantrelle Edwards 25:16

Yes. I receive that.

Marika de Vienne 25:21

Claim it, claim it, exactly. Well, I mean, Chantrelle this has been a real honour for me, a real privilege for me, you know, thank you for sharing your story, sharing the time, taking the time. I don't know, we’ve both been sipping tea this whole time because clearly, you know, that's what we were gonna do. What have you been drinking? Because we're not together, we're distance recording. I'm in Montreal, you're in Oakland. What have you been drinking?

Chantrelle Edwards 25:50

Well right now, actually, my husband made a cup of tea for me. It's elderberries, echinacea, and lemongrass. It’s pretty yummy.

Marika de Vienne 26:05

Ooh, yeah and also like, you got that immune-boosting, feel-good. No caffeine, but like, good energy.

Chantrelle Edwards 26:13

Exactly. I normally have caffeine in the morning. I normally need that. But today was different.

Marika de Vienne 26:19

Hey, every day is different. And there's a tea for each and every day. And that's the glory of it. That's the glory of it. You know, I–


What are you drinking?


Yeah, I was really trying to find a tea that would fit this conversation, you know, because I was listening to everything that we'd said, like in our pre-interview and how you want to bring a moment of peace and a moment of calm to people through your tea and to share your love and share your passion. And I was really trying to find a tea that would like encapsulate that. But I kept being drawn to this one tea that just reminded me of you. And it's a tea called Glitter & Gold. And DAVIDsTEA released it in during the holidays, it's still like available, but it's a lightly spiced black tea, very, very lightly spiced. And you drink it the first time and you go, Oh, that's good, I'll have another sip, and you keep drinking. And then there's like, a depth that comes to it. And it like coats your mouth in a really nice way. And it's got a really lovely aroma that's not too overwhelming. So that really reminded me of like your humble nature. That you have something to say, that there is spice, that that is undeniable, that it is unique, but that you're not shoving it on anybody and you're not pushing it on anybody. It just kind of grows on you. And the more you drink, it's kind of like you're about, you know “about Hella Tea” section on your website, it’s like give me more, I want more!

Chantrelle Edwards 27:47

Thank you.

Marika de Vienne 27:49

But this tea also has gold flecks in it that like reverberate in the cup. And I just think you're just a sparkling human, generally speaking.

Chantrelle Edwards 27:57

Now you're gonna make me cry.

Marika de Vienne 28:00

It’s like a Barbara Walters interview up in here. But it just, it just reminded me of you. And so I decided that that was the best tea for this conversation because we can't be you know, together in these times. So hopefully one day, you'll come here and we'll be able to share a cup of tea or I'll head down there and we'll share a cup of tea.

Chantrelle Edwards 28:20

Yes, I'm down.

Marika de Vienne 28:24

All right. Well, we're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back with “What Are You Drinking?”

AD BREAK 28:29

Today's episode of Steeping Together is brought to you by Glitter & Gold. We struck gold when we first released this cozy and gently spiced black tea that literally sparkles in your cup, and it's back again! But we know there's one question on every fan of this tea’s mind. Is it the original? Yes! Really? Uh, yes. Are you sure because a couple of years ago, you released a tea with the same name and it didn't really look or taste right and that was super confusing. Okay, okay. Maybe it's a tiny little bit different. But here at DAVIDsTEA, we learn from our mistakes and we promised not to give you fool's gold again. We recruited the biggest fans of the original recipe that we could find, and made every effort to get as close back to the look and taste of the original recipe as was humanly possible. So, Glitter & Gold, 99.9% original recipe.

Marika de Vienne 29:34

Welcome back. It's time to play “What Are You Drinking?” the quiz where we ask our guests three situational questions, some realistic, some completely out there, and they have to use all their experience and expertise to tell us what they would drink in any one of these situations. Chantrelle, are you ready to play “What Are You Drinking?”


Yes, ma'am.


All right, here we go! Question one. You have a very, very busy day ahead of you. Your schedule is packed, back to back meetings, and it's 6:30 in the morning and you feel as though you're already running behind. What are you drinking?

Chantrelle Edwards 30:08

I'm gonna drink my favourite tea, which is Earl Grey. Because I just need that kick to get me through the day, especially waking up at 6:30 in the morning? Oh I'm gonna need Earl Grey. With a little bit of cream and a little bit of honey, just that gets me going.

Marika de Vienne 30:38

I understand that so completely because Earl Grey was my first tea, my first tea ever, the tea that my grandmother made me as a child was Earl Grey. And in all of my years, I have never once met a soul who doesn't like Earl Grey, you know? It's such a universal flavour–and well not, you know, I mean universal, I'm speaking to North America specifically, you know. Not a lot of Earl Grey drinkers in rural China. So but it's a really accessible flavour. It's a nostalgic flavour for a lot of people. That's kind of what you want at 6:30 in the morning on a crazy day, you're just kind of like, you know what, let's go with what I know. Let's go with what works.

Chantrelle Edwards 31:24


Marika de Vienne 31:26

Gold star. Perfect answer!

Chantrelle Edwards 31:30

And it smells good.

Marika de Vienne 31:32

It smells so… I still make Earl Grey every Sunday, just and the smell of the hot water hitting those leaves and how it fills the house. Just reminds me of being with my grandmother like every single time and it's great.

Chantrelle Edwards 31:48

It reminds me of potpourri.

Marika de Vienne 31:53

Really? Oh, man, I haven't thought about potpourri in like 10 years. That was everywhere in the cassette tape times. My brains gonna think about what happened to potpourri for the next day. What happened to potpourri! All right, are you ready for question two? All right. So you have been invited to visit us here at DAVIDsTEA! We are so excited to have you, we just want to talk tea and drink tea and share and laugh. It's gonna be great. Only thing is we've invited you to join us during the month of February in Montreal, Canada, which means you are totally unaccustomed to the five feet of snow forecasted to fall the day you land and you are nervous about even knowing how to walk in the streets amid this disaster. You need to gather up all of your courage to deal with this nonsense. What are you drinking?

Chantrelle Edwards 32:49

Well, you know I'm so used to sunny California. Now however, I'm gonna drink 18TEA7 Proof, which is one of my flavours, is a honey bourbon flavour. Cause you know, if I got to do all that, I need that to get me through the madness. I'm gonna go with honey bourbon.

Marika de Vienne 33:12

Honey bourbon flavour. Is that on a, what base? Is that like an herbal tea or?

Chantrelle Edwards 33:18

It's an herbal tea.

Marika de Vienne 33:19

Okay. That makes so much…


It tastes just like bourbon.


Oh, well, I'm on board. I don't, I don't really drink alcohol, bourbon’s the only one that I occasionally drink. So sold. Done. But that's such a perfect blend, because I don't know if you've ever seen five feet of snow in a snowstorm or had to walk through it? Yeah, I don't recommend it. Let's just put it that way.

Chantrelle Edwards 33:49

In the Bay Area we actually have to drive to the snow. Have to drive hours to get there.

Marika de Vienne 33:57

Yeah here they deliver it right at your door! Very convenient. But you know, one of the things, and you know I'm used to it, you know, born and raised Montrealer, that's just a normal part of my existence. But you know, every January I kind of wonder why my parents immigrated here. I'm like, what were you thinking exactly? This is so…and that honey bourbon is such a cool combination to deal with that cold because you're surrounded by cold so like warming your insides is so crucial. Well done, well done. I really thought I threw you a curveball. I was like she's not gonna know, she doesn't know what that's like!


No, I don’t.


All right, question three. Your Australian vacation has been amazing so far. You've gotten to feed koalas, tour the Sydney Harbour, see the Great Barrier Reef and so many other amazing experiences. But now you're on your way to swim with sharks. What are you drinking?

Chantrelle Edwards 35:06

Oh Lord, not sharks. I'm definitely not drinking blood orange tea. I don't want to get attacked by any sharks. No but I have to say, to calm my nerves, I’d drink chamomile.

Marika de Vienne 35:21

Okay, yeah, see chamomile doesn't work on me. It's well, it's one, you know, I was speaking to one of our plant experts here. And that was one of the first questions I asked her, why doesn't it work on me? And she said that you have to drink it regularly enough so that your system can take all the, you know, you kind of get have to get your system used to it. So I've been trying to incorporate it more, because I love the flavour, I love drinking chamomile tea. But it just never had an effect. And also I'm pretty wired all the time. So maybe that poor little cup of chamomile’s like, we can't help you!

Chantrelle Edwards 36:02

That can be it!

Marika de Vienne 36:05

But yeah if you drink it often enough, and I'm sure you drink your chamomile pretty often, it's uh, yeah swimming with the sharks–nerves of steel’s what's going to be required here.

Chantrelle Edwards 36:18

Yes, yes. To calm my nerves.

Marika de Vienne 36:23

Excellent, excellent choice. Well, there are no points in this game. But you've won.


Oh thank you.


Chanterelle, thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining us, sharing your story, sharing your tea. If people want your tea, or just you know, want to see your adventures in tea, tell us how do we find you?

Chantrelle Edwards 36:48

You can contact or you can go to Or you can look us up on social media, @hellateaoakland.

Marika de Vienne 37:00

Perfect. I'm already a follower, I love your Instagram. And yeah, thank you so much!

Chantrelle Edwards 37:06

Thank you. Thanks for having us. Having me.

Marika de Vienne 37:10

And thank you for listening to today's episode. If you would like to reach us with comments, questions or suggestions for the “What Are You Drinking?” game, you can do so at or through our website, Have a great week and happy steeping everyone.

chantrelle edwards

chantrelle edwards

about the guest

Chantrelle Edwards is the founder and CEO of Hella Tea. While growing up in Oakland, California, drinking tea was always an escape for her when life got tough. From losing her 17-year-old brother to gun violence to becoming a mother at a young age, she was determined to beat the odds. In 2007, Chantrelle decided to start her first tea business, Raised Pinky Teas, whose target market was children and women’s groups. One day, while seeking help from a marketing professional, she was challenged to adjust her branding strategy. After much thought, prayer and reflection on her life experiences and interest, Hella Tea was born. Hella Tea specializes in artisanal tea blends that pay homage to the diverse population of the Bay Area and its hip hop culture. When Chantrelle isn’t sipping tea (or thinking of clever tea puns!), she enjoys skating, attending concerts, family gatherings, giving back through community outreach and taking spontaneous road trips to Napa and Monterey.

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season 2 | ep. 22


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On this week’s season finale, guest Sanaya El Sayad spills all the tea by answering your most asked questions!

season 2 | ep. 21

the bigger

with Chantrelle Edwards
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with Chantrelle Edwards

The bigger picture

This week, we’re talking to Chantrelle Edwards, founder and CEO of Hella Tea, all about POC representation in the tea community.

season 2 | ep. 20

all about
in tea

with Celia Aceae
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All about sweeteners in tea

This week, our guests Celia & Kelly discuss sweetener in tea—from the ones you add before you sip to those already built into your favourite blends.

season 2 | ep. 19

exactly is

with Dr. Robert Sobel
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with Dr. Robert Sobel

What exactly is flavouring?

We invited Research & Innovation expert, Dr. Robert Sobel, to help us unpack what natural and artificial flavouring really means.

season 2 | ep. 18

with tea

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Cooking with tea

Who says tea is only for drinking? This week, returning guest Nadia De La Vega talks to us about how to integrate tea into your everyday cooking and which ones are the best to cook with!

season 2 | ep. 17

tea & meditation:
a moment for

with Sara Gallagher Bloom
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with Sara Gallagher Bloom

Tea & meditation: a moment for yourself

This week, we talk to yoga and mindfulness instructor—and tea enthusiast—Sara Gallagher Bloom to discuss the benefits of meditation and how tea can fit into your routine.

season 2 | ep. 16

much ado
about matcha

with Celia Aceae
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with Celia Aceae

Much ado about matcha

And the spotlight goes to… mmm matcha! This week, we’re diving deep into the creamy, energizing & traditional world of matcha with none other than our four-time returning guest, Celia.

season 2 | ep. 15

trends in

with Victor Yu
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with Victor Yu

Upcoming trends in tea

We have invited Victor Yu, of the Random Cuisine Blog, to walk us through the latest tea trends brewing all around us. Find out about the latest and greatest in tea beverages, desserts and beyond!

season 2 | ep. 14

caffeine in tea: what
does it

caffeine in tea:
what does it really

with Nadia De La Vega
& Celia Aceae
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with Nadia De La Vega & Celia Aceae

Caffeine in tea: what does it really mean?

Let’s take a deep dive—or at least a shallow dip—into all things caffeine in tea. Returning guests Nadia & Celia help unpack the not so simple topic that’s on the minds of many tea lovers.

season 2 | ep. 13

deep dive
into tea

with Kevin Gascoyne
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with Kevin Gascoyne

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Want to learn how to pair teas and impress your guests next time you invite them over? Well, let Kevin Gascoyne give you the rundown on all things tea pairings!

season 2 | ep. 12

pu’erh tea,
an enduring
love story

with Kelly Miller
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Pu’erh tea, an enduring love story

Kelly joins us this week as we attempt to unravel the mystery behind tea drinkers’ longstanding love for pu’erh, one of the most ancient tea types.

season 2 | ep. 11

creating positive
change in the tea

change in
the tea

with the Ethical Tea Partnership
jenny costelloe
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Creating positive change in the tea industry

We sat down with Jenny, Executive Director at the ETP, to get a better understanding of how our industry is working together to create a fairer and more sustainable tea industry for workers, farmers and the environment.

season 2 | ep. 10

at davidstea

with Nadia De La Vega
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Sustainability at DAVIDsTEA

We acknowledge that there is no DAVIDsTEA without a healthy planet. So, who better to define what that means to us than Nadia, our Director of Tea Sustainability & Content?

season 2 | ep. 9

how to introduce
tea to non-tea

how to
tea to

with Carolina Levy
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How to introduce tea to non-tea drinkers

Carolina Levy, owner of tea company Soy Té, shares insight from her personal experience of bringing tea to Mexico.

season 2 | ep. 8

how to make
iced tea, lattes
& teapops

how to
make iced
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& teapops

with Freedom Taylor
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How to make iced tea, lattes & teapops

Want to sip outside the box? This episode’s for you! We’re exploring all the different ways to make a cup with Freedom, our resident rule-breaker.

season 2 | ep. 7


with Tao Zrafi
Tao Zrafi
with Tao Zrafi

Tea mixology 101

We invited Tao Zrafi, @travelingbartenders, to share his secrets on the best ways to mix tea with alcohol.

season 2 | ep. 6

does water
type affect
tea taste?

with Ravi Pillai
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with Ravi Pillai

Does water type affect tea taste?

Did you know the type of water you use to steep your tea makes a difference? Find out how on this week’s episode!

season 2 | ep. 5

wild rice: an
indigenous tradition

with Tea Horse
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with Tea Horse

Wild Rice: An Indigenous Tradition

Join us as we talk to Tea Horse about their unique take on wild rice and the role that tea plays in bringing people together.

season 2 | ep. 4

licorice: love it
or leave it

with Celia Aceae
Celia Aceae
with Celia Aceae

Licorice: love it or leave it

Join us this week for a deep dive into what seems to be one of our most polarizing ingredients: licorice.

season 2 | ep. 3

building a

with Mamas For Mamas
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with Mamas For Mamas

Building a community

On this week’s episode, we sit down with Mamas for Mamas’ founder to explore all the amazing work the organization has accomplished to help moms and caregivers in need.

season 2 | ep. 2

white tea
& how to
blend it

with Billy Dietz
Billy Dietz
with Billy Dietz

White tea & how to blend it

On this week’s mini episode, we’re delving into the challenging yet welcoming base of white tea, and how to blend it.

season 2 | ep. 1

building an
online tea

w/ Tea with Jann
w/ Tea with Jann

Building an inclusive online tea community

Our season 2 premiere tries to answer one crucial question: How do you build an inclusive tea community in an increasingly divided world? Tune in to find out.

season 1 | ep. 8

what are
the most
blends of

with Sanaya El Sayad
Sanaya El Sayad
with Sanaya El Sayad

What are the most underrated DAVIDsTEA blends of 2021?

Most of the time our teas find an audience and thrive. Other times, they just…don’t. This week, we’re exploring why a tea sometimes misses the mark.

season 1 | ep. 7

what makes
tea so good?

with Peru Gyawali
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with Peru Gyawali

What makes Nepalese tea so good?

Did you know that Nepalese tea is some of the finest around the world? Listen in as we shed some light on what makes this newcomer so great.

season 1 | ep. 6

how do you
choose the
perfect teaware?

how do you
choose the

with Freedom Taylor
Freedom Taylor
with Freedom Taylor

How do you choose the perfect teaware?

Vessels can completely transform your tea drinking experience. This week, we’re teaching you how to choose the right ones for you.

season 1 | ep. 5

how do
you create
a tea?

with Billy Dietz
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How do you create a tea?

Ever wonder how tea is made? Like how we get it to taste as decadent as dessert or as sweet as candy. Tune in to find out!

season 1 | ep. 4

how do you
become a
tea taster?

with Ravi Pillai
Ravi Pillai
with Ravi Pillai

How do you become a professional tea taster?

Get your pen and paper ready! Today’s episode is all about how to train your palate so that you can really taste every aspect of the tea you sip.

season 1 | ep. 3

what are the
best ingredients
for sleep?

what are
the best
for sleep?

with Celia Aceae
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with Celia Aceae

What are the best ingredients for sleep?

In need of a good night’s sleep? Join us as we delve into the benefits and drawbacks of different sleep ingredients found in tea.

season 1 | ep. 2

how do you
order a tea

with Kelly Miller
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with Kelly Miller

How do you order a tea online?

We’re here to answer all your Qs about shopping teas online and how to find the best ones for you even when you can’t have a sniff or sip.

season 1 | ep. 1

why do we
love tea so

with Nadia De La Vega
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with Nadia De La Vega

Why do we love tea so much?

Tea is the second most consumed beverage on the planet. Know why? Tune in to find out.

Who is


about the host

Marika De Vienne studied and worked with tea growers and garden owners in China before becoming a spice and tea blending apprentice. Travelling to places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka turned her into a ravenous seeker and lover of all things tea.

Like many at DAVIDsTEA, Marika has a tea drinking problem. Trust us, we don’t think too much tea is a problem but she’s basically a human science experiment on tea consumption…

So, in an effort to channel this obsession into something a little more constructive, Marika now hosts Steeping Together, where she hopes to spark meaningful conversations over a fresh cup of tea with people from around the world.

Marika De Vienne
Project Lead