A new series on my blog. Get to know the people behind the small tea companies we love! Starting with Kristin Thompson from Tickled Tea. Kristin is based in Stony Plain, Alberta, a small town west of Edmonton. She blends her teas at home out of her own gorgeous kitchen (kitchen goals – apartment kitchens suck). She even had her kitchen inspected and approved by Alberta Health Services so you know she takes her tea making and business seriously.
Tickled Tea Lemon Cookie Latte (review)
My personal favourite from Tickled Tea is Lemon Cookie, which Daisy clearly agrees with. One of these days, I will enjoy a latte without giving half of the foam to her! But asking Kristin which tea she would make if it was possible to interview in person, she chose one of her upcoming winter blends, Apple of My Pie.
Easing into things, I asked Kristin three things about her that we may not know.
- I’m a Mom to the two most amazingly crazy girls.
- Tickled Tea is not my only job, I also work in online marketing for my husbands family’s business.
- I like to have something creative to do all the time. Whether I’m baking, organizing, decorating or, of course, making tea, I need to be creating.
Baking, making tea, working and kids, I don’t know where she finds the time!
Kristin’s kitchen where every batch of Tickled Tea is made
Kristin’s First Tea Memory
My personal first tea memory is begging to make tea in a tea pot for my mum when I was young. Although there is a baby photo back home of me with very milky tea in a bottle so I am always interested to know what people’s first tea memories are. Kristin’s is similar to mine.
“My Mom and Dad always had a cup of plain black tea after dinner. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. Once I was old enough to safely handle the hot water, I loved to make them their evening cup!”
You Can’t Drink Just Tickled Tea?
We all have our favourites and Kristin rarely cheats on her own teas, but when she does, you are likely to find her with a Starbucks Chai Latte in hand. She prefers black teas but drinks herbals later in the day to cut down on caffeine. She prefers her teas straight with no milk and sugar to really taste the flavours too.
Asked what she would drink if she could only drink one tea for the rest of her life, Kristin chose a black tea.
“Oh what a terrible thought! This would be a tough choice, but probably plain black loose tea. Maybe an orange pekoe or an English breakfast. I would worry that anything flavoured would get sickening over time, if it was all I could have. However, an English breakfast could be changed up here and there. I could have it plain, or with milk, or maybe some honey, or as a latte. It would be more versatile.”
Tickled Tea Rum & Cola (review)
How Did Tickled Tea Come About?
Tickled Tea has become a fast favourite in the Facebook tea groups I am a member of, so how did Kristin start?
“In the fall of 2016, my cousin visited me from BC. Her and I have always been close and love to come up with creative projects to do together. We both LOVED a particular fruit infusion tea blend from a popular company, and decided we were going to try and make it ourselves! We researched the ingredients and spent a day perfecting our recipe until we were certain we had mimicked our beloved blend.
At that point my mind just went CRAZY! I had SO. MANY. IDEAS. All the flavours that I wanted to try and make that I’d never seen in any store. Hence, Tickled Tea was born!”
Why Tickled Tea?
It’s just me! I do all the recipes, blending, packaging, shipping, advertising, social media and website design. It is A TON of work, but I love the freedom! I am a creative person, and Tickled Tea allows me to be creative in so many different facets. Whether I am in the kitchen coming up with a new blend, or editing images in photoshop for my website, the final say is always mine!
And since it is just me, I am very personable with my customers, I really do think of them as the experts, so their input and feedback has had a hugely positive impact on my business.
What Inspired the name Tickled Tea?
I don’t take life too seriously. I love to laugh and my husband and kids are the same. We always tell our girls that being weird is a wonderful thing, because it means you’re unlike anyone else! So I was trying to come up with a name that reflected something that makes people smile and laugh, and Tickled jumped right out! As for the logo’s graphic elements, feathers are just the obvious connection to being tickled!
Tickled Tea Vanilla Cupcake Tea (review)
What Made Tickled Tea A Success?
I imagine it can be hard starting a tea company. The market, while growing, is still small and very fickle. So how did Tickled Tea grow, especially coming from such a small town.
“Social media has been the biggest friend to my brand. I started out with local interest and of course support from friends and family, but it wasn’t until someone in Ontario took a chance on my tea, and ordered a sampler pack after following me on Instagram. She was so impressed she shared it with her tea friends on Facebook and BOOM, I had orders coming out the wahzoo! My brand really grew within the online community and it was suddenly a daily experience to find people posting and promoting for my brand.
In the more local scene I have been very lucky. My community is a small one, with many amazing mom & pop type shops. So many have been happy to include my tea on their shelves. From restaurants, country stores and massage therapy clinics, even to a beef jerky house, my tea is getting around. I recently joined forces with an amazing local coffee shop called Perks Coffeehouse. They are an amazing business and go above and beyond to support local. My tea is available in their flagship store in Spruce Grove as well as featured on their menu with the Tickled Tea of the month! So grateful”
Take A Chance On Me – Which Tickled Tea Blends To Try
Kristin recommends people new to tea (or new to Tickled Tea) try S’mores Amour if they have a sweet tooth, Cinnamon Coffee Cake if they are switching from a coffee addiction or La La Land for a relaxing herbal.
I know that my personal tastes rarely run to the bestsellers others love, so I asked Kristin what her fan faves or bestsellers are:
Cinnamon Coffee Cake – It was introduced this fall and I constantly sell out of it. People usually order 50g of tea at a time, sometimes 100g if it is one they really like, however with this particular blend it wasn’t uncommon to have orders of over 500g at a time. I’ve had trouble keeping it in stock! It is kind of ironic though that my most popular tea doesn’t actually contain any tea leaves, but does have a little coffee in it.
Root Beer Float – This is one of the earliest blends I introduced to my company and it is still one of my most ordered flavours. At first people are skeptical that it won’t taste like the name, but I swear it really does! It is SO good as an iced latte, I can’t even tell ya!
Orange Creamsicle – This is similar to the reaction I get from the Root Beer Float blend. Customers are surprised how much it actually lives up to it’s name. I think that the rooibos base discourages people at first, since it can have a woodier taste, but the orange peel and flavouring really shines through! It is my littlest’s favourite with a little milk and sugar.
Tickled Tea Sneak Peeks
So what about upcoming collections? There are always fun blends for winter and the holiday season.
I like to have new blends come out for each season, and plan to have winter blends arrive this November sometime. There will be 4-5 blends that reflect the flavours of the winter/Christmas season.
As mentioned before, I have a new apple pie blend, Apple of my Pie, (named by an amazing Tickled Tea fan in an online contest). It is a vanilla rooibos base, with cinnamon, apples, orange peel, rosehips and flavouring. It has such a true apple pie aroma, it make me drool a bit just thinking about it.
Shop Tickled Tea
So now you know all about Kristin and Tickled Tea, you can shop here. Be sure to follow her on social media for sneak peeks at upcoming collections, contests like naming her newest apple pie tea and more. Follow Tickled Tea on Instagram, their Facebook Page and Facebook Group.
If you are really new to the brand, consider getting Kristin’s Tasters Pack. You get to choose 6 samples from a huge list of her teas with reasonable shipping. You can decide if the samples are for you and choose a bigger bag if your faves next time you shop.