Checking Out a Tea Co. with a Ukrainian Touch

The Chicago, Illinois, area seems to be awash with tea vendors. We received a couple of samples from a new one just recently: The Royal Tea Co.

In the firm belief that it is good to know with whom one is doing business, I went looking for info on the company Website and beyond, and present my findings here for your benefit.

The company founder is Alex Timchenko, a native of the Ukraine and graduate of Moskovskij Gosudarstvennyj Tehnologiceskij Universitet (Stankin) [a technology university in Moscow, Russia]. Like so many around the world, Alex made his way to this country and now pursues his dreams and a career. His passion for tea, according to the company Website, grew from his desire to find an alternative to coffee. A lot of tea drinkers do that. They find the caffeine levels too high in coffee and so turn to tea. (See my posts on caffeine: Part I and Part II)

A few issues with the company:

  • The Website is one of those Flash things where pages “slide” into view, slick looking but not very user friendly, especially if you want to save the steeping instructions for the teas. Unfortunately, this style of site design is becoming more common.
  • The Website also makes health claims about teas without linking to supporting studies or documentation. Annoying but certainly not unique. Many tea vendors are doing this, jumping on the “tea is healthy” bandwagon.
  • The company sells these wonderful loose, broken and full leaf teas, yet sells a teapot with an infuser basket. Yuck! Get the best from these teas by steeping them loose.

The company blogsite is in its infancy, but I suspect it will blossom nicely. Unfortunately, the blog also makes health claims without citing any studies or other supporting documentation. I encourage them to change this and be a cut above their competitors in that area.

Alex’s wife, Ashleigh, is a Tennessee native now living in Chicago. She has her own business designing greeting cards that have a definite style and shows some Eastern European flair (some even feature matruskas, those cute stacking dolls popular there — I included one of my own, with the dolls unstacked, in the photo with one of the tea samples) and a blog, focused on the latest fashion sightings. She’s also a menswear buyer but has quite an eye for women’s fashion that is young, chic, and unmainstream.

Now that you know who is behind the company name, don’t miss the reviews of The Royal Tea Co. samples on Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews.

As a side note, tea growing in the Ukraine was attempted in the early 1950s to make the USSR “tea independent” (they were getting most of their tea from China). In mid-1958, the Soviets harvested a crop using a mechanized tea plucker, which at the time was thought to be impossible in terms of producing a good crop. The tea proved to be of sufficiently good quality and paved the way for other tea growers in India, Sri Lanka, and even China to implement some mechanized harvesting. The USSR never achieved its desired “tea independence,” though. (Source)

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