Tea is taking over Instagram. There’s no escaping beautifully photographed Instagram influencers promoting their “detox” teas, promising a smaller waistline in just days. These teas use an ingredient called senna, which is a laxative that will dehydrate your body if used everyday. Though there is no hard proof that this is effective, however The Australian Medical Association says, “It causes electrolyte and fluid loss, as well as the loss of other nutrients needed by the heart and brain to function.” That doesn’t sound healthy. If you are looking for a healthy tea, Wise Ape Tea is perfect for you. Unlike those “detox” teas, Wise Ape Tea is made from a combination of specialty tea leaves with specialty herbs to create performance tea blends. Designed for your mind and body, the ingredients are 100% organic and natural. Instead of promoting a detox, Wise Ape Tea focuses on your well-being and a healthy lifestyle. We interviewed the founder, Joe Scola, who tells us about their mission and why their tea is unique.
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How did you get into tea?
I was previously the founder of a video-tech startup when my father was suddenly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (GBM). I began researching herbs and alternative medicines which eventually led me to the health benefits of tea. My love and consumption of tea grew as I cared for my father over the last 14 months of his life. The universe had ultimately presented my new path and I had recognized that.
Can you describe your process of conception to production?
All of our blends start in-house. We design all natural performance tea blends by blending specialized herbs into our teas. I’ll usually have a concept in mind or the type of effect we’re looking for, and it always begins with tons of research. I’ll typically isolate the all of the ingredients or herbs we might use in a blend and then taste them individually to get a sense of taste. From there we’ll begin making custom in-house blends, tasting and testing until we get it close. Next, we work with our vendor to tweak that formula, going through dozens of iterations until we get it right.
What is your team like?
We’ve got a kick-ass team of bloggers who help research and create all of the amazing science-based blog content we publish in the “knowledge” section of our website. We have a biochemistry PhD in Philadelphia we work with to help vet all of our formulations from a scientific approach. In addition, we also have a consulting partner based in Seattle. And last but certainly not least, The Baboon is our rockstar designer who’s truly helped to bring this vision to life from the early stages. He’s a multi-talented creative who always shows up with a banana.
I’d be remiss not to mention that we’ve recently partnered with the National Brain Tumor Society, who we’ve been working closely with for our first blend, Chocolate Hustle. They’ve got an incredible team of do-gooders over there as well.
What makes Wise Ape Tea different from others?
Each performance tea is designed with ingredients to serve a unique purpose. Beyond that I would say it’s our mission and our brand. We’re a lifestyle tea brand speaking to a younger demographic of tea drinkers. We’re funky, unconventional, and have an altruistic movement at our core.
Who is the ideal Wise Ape Tea drinker?
People of all walks of life and ages have enjoyed our tea. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say we are a tea brand for the new generation of tea drinkers. Not necessarily your tea traditionalists, but anyone who’s intrigued by unconventional blends that are healthy and flavorful.
Our first blend, Chocolate Hustle, was designed around 3 adaptogenic herbs to promote focus. So we’ve had an awesome response from entrepreneurs, biohackers, and even students.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Without a doubt my father is the biggest inspiration for Wise Ape… and in life for that matter. My mother too. She was an art teacher and I hold her fully responsible for the majority of my creative and sometimes crazy ideas.
As for business, I’m a big fan of Richard Branson, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Aubrey Marcus, and Joe Rogan. I’m actually a huge Rogan fanboy.
What are your favorite variations of drinking tea?
For our Chocolate Hustle tea I love blending in healthy fats like grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Similar to bulletproof coffee, but we call it SIlverback tea.
I also enjoy some of the traditional teas and steeping them in a cast iron teapot. I find the ritual of doing so can often be meditative.
Now that you’ve launched, what’s next?
We need to grow. That means reaching new customers and continuing to provide value for our current customers. We’ve got some pretty epic new tea blends on the way that we’re excited to share with the world.
What’s a piece of advice you can give to those thinking about starting their own business?
Have an honest conversation with yourself about why you want to start the business and make sure it’s something you’re ready to commit to. Identify your personal strengths and weaknesses as early as possible. This will help you figure out what you can handle on your own and what you’ll need help with. Delegate your weakest areas when possible.