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Much as we all enjoy an Isle of Harris Gin, it probably isn’t very sensible to drink it morning, noon and night. But a nice cup of tea is quite another matter, especially for us islanders who love nothing better than a strupag (Gaelic for a cuppa!).
Thankfully, we are now able to combine the two in a healthy and delicious manner thanks to the crea-tea-vity of Erica Moore, owner of eteaket Leaf Tea Experts in Edinburgh. Erica is the brains behind the Isle of Harris Gin Tea, a beautiful botanical-based brew taking tea drinkers by storm since last December.
After leaving her past life as a litigation lawyer, Erica set out across Sri Lanka and India, learning about the tea trade before returning home to bring proper leaf tea back to the UK high street. The coffee culture was thriving and now, she believed, it was definitely time for tea.
Erica opened eteaket’s Tea Room at 41 Frederick St, Edinburgh in December 2008 and since then has grown a thriving wholesale business supplying cafes, restaurants and delis around the world. Most recently, she took the bold step of opening her first retail Concept Store at 111 Rose St.
As fate would have it, Erica’s mum was born and raised in Tarbert here in Harris and a large part of her childhood was spent running along our endless sandy beaches and wading in the shallows of Luskentyre. This island connection has stayed strong over the years as Erica explains…
“My family still has close ties to the island so when my mum was given a bottle of Isle of Harris Gin for Christmas 2015 I shared a few glasses with her and it got me thinking. I loved the fresh botanical tastes in the gin and (along with the rest of the world) adored the bottle with turquoise hues. It seemed like a perfect fit for my company.”
Erica and our MD Simon got together and we agreed to the creation of a special tea blend from the same botanicals we use in our Isle of Harris Gin. The Isle of Harris Gin Tea blend was launched as a limited edition in December 2016. Although Erica had blended enough to last about 2 months we were all flabbergasted when it sold out in just 2 days.
“That Christmas was spent covered in sugar kelp trying to keep up with demand. I’m pleased to say the demand is still growing and we’re managing to keep stock up at the same time. As with most things when you’ve got your own business, it has been quite a learning curve.”
The success of the tea means it is now a permanent fixture in their considered range of products. And it’s not just Scottish tea lovers who have embraced the clean and refreshing flavours of this unusual herbal infusion.
“We’re regularly sending it to Japan, USA and Australia without us having done any marketing over there. It works well hot but I prefer to cold brew it with a tiny bit of Scottish heather honey. Simply put 2 tsps of the Isle of Harris Tea Blend into about 500ml of cold water and leave for a minimum of 3 hours (overnight is best). It’s just like having a G&T but without risking a hangover. Of course it also works well with the amazing Isle of Harris Gin itself in a tea cocktail.”
We recently co-hosted a wee celebration of this wonderful G&Tea in their beautiful new Concept store, with Isle of Harris Gin Tea Cocktails going down a treat. It also gave us a chance to ask Erica about her future plans…
“We’ve got big plans for the coming 12 months, not least is a trip to Japan at the request of the Kyoto Prefectural Government to talk about tea culture in the UK. I also plan to visit tea gardens there and to research the tea market to hopefully start selling more eteaket tea over there – particularly our Isle of Harris Gin Tea.”
These are exciting times for this entrepreneurial woman with island connections and we wish her every success as her story continues.
“I’m continually learning every day about the amazing world of tea and coming up with new ideas. I’m constantly battling to stay on an even keel with the challenges of eteaket and family life but it’s a fun challenge and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have to say a wee glass of Isle of Harris Gin at the end of a hectic week does help me keep things in perspective and for a moment I can be back on Luskentyre beach paddling in the shallows."
We’ll drink to that!
ISLE OF HARRIS GIN TEA IS £7.95 AND AVAILABLE FROM:
Posted on: 25th August, 2017