Thursday, April 22, 2010

Definition of Gypsy

My Grandma Maria was the result of the love between a precocious Gypsy boy and a shy Jewish girl who married amidst the tumultuous 1920's Lenin era of Russia. My great grandfather, a fiddler and son of Moscow Circus trapeze artists, fell in love with a saintly and strong, blue eyed girl named Prisia at the creekside while both families washed their tattered clothes in the clean waters; a legacy of passion and profound perseverance was born with their first child, Zena (my great aunt), and their second, Maria (my grandmother).

The theory/history of the Gypsy/Rom people is that we were originally from northern India, escaped Attila the Hun and ended up roaming ever since through eastern Russia, through Ukraine then into Europe, ending up in Spain. The originators of Flamenco music, the Gypsy/Roma people are the only culture in the whole world that do not see any one country as their home, but the whole world as their home. So fitting for a business model and product line in the age when globalization and localization are the models to be reconciled and implemented, borders are falling, flavors are melding on plate, in cups and food is becoming the communication of our young country- finally.

Gypsy Tea had an almost mythical beginning, an idea founded through the hardship of a single 25 year old mom who had no financial support to fund an operation for her infant son (not sure it's super healthy to talk about myself in 3rd person, but I see "her" from a distance and admire her strength). I fell to my knees one day when I was at my wit's end and asked the Universe what I could do to cure my son and find my path. Gypsy Tea answered me like a whisper and quickly became a passionate path, an obsession to save the mothers of the tea fields the incredible hardship from poverty that I was experiencing at that time in my life.

My grandparents survived 5 years in concentration camps to come to America, they were very secretive about being "Gypsy"/Roma, I felt the culture embodied such a celebration of life, that I would name the company Gypsy in order to elevate the beautiful aspects of a culture that is both mysterious and dynamic.

I figured money wasn't important enough to dedicate my whole life to the receipt of it alone, but ending poverty for my global tribe- primarily the women in the tea fields- would be something that would inspire me to work when money was not enough to keep me inspired. I have found that the mission to end poverty while providing exceptional teas for tea drinkers' health and happiness is fuel for me to work passionately for long periods of time, and the creativity of designing blends and packaging, sourcing teas & herbs and working with essential oil companies in Europe has been fun, exciting and proven to never hold a dull moment for me. Traveling to the tea fields several times a year is the greatest gift my Gypsy spirit could ask for.

The tea company's first rendition was a humble tea cart, and with Sage in his baby carrier, we served cup after cup of tea to women in the Ventura/Ojai area, my twist on tea was to add essential oils so that they would have added health benefits and that resonated with women. Today we are in over 6,000 stores and selling in 11 countries.


  1. I so love this story! Lucy wants to have a tea party to mark her 6th birthday and, so, I'm collecting herbal teas for her to serve. If you have recommendations from your teas, I'd love to hear! Many blessings, Sara.

  2. HI Sara, I would brew her Italian Chamomile, Acai Berry or Fireside Chai- my kiddos love these and they are super healthy for them and caffeine free! Enjoy!

  3. Zhena, I am such a fan and have been since you were my senior at Cottey! Everyone I talk with hears about your tea and it's positive effects from those who grow it to those who drink it! Thank you for making a difference.