I hope wherever you are right now you can pour yourself a cup of mindfulness through the ritual of drinking tea and enjoy this interview with Gabrielle from UK tea company Rose & Dragon.
Rose & Dragon is a new tea company that is creating a range of deliciously flavoured loose leaf tea with mindfulness and sustainability at the heart of all it brings to the world.
These include ‘Millionaire’s Shortbread’, with a deliciously round flavour of cocoa that balances out the beautiful sweetness of the caramel in a captivating black tea blend. Then there’s ‘Senbon Sakura’, in Japanese meaning ‘one thousand cherry blossoms in Japanese’, that is a deliciously refreshing cherry green tea, brimming with antioxidants. Finally, there’s ‘Moonbeam Explorer’ a dreamy, naturally caffeine-free Rooibos tea infused with lavender and lime to send you off into the dreamy night skies (to name but a few).
However, as well as the delectable notes and inspiring stories each tea holds within its leaves, it was the act of fusing the daily ritual of drinking tea with mindfulness that caught my attention the most.
According to research by Rose & Dragon, studies show that practising mindfulness every day reduces stress and anxiety. As a result, the NHS and the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence recommends mindfulness as a way of reducing anxiety and depression.
However, Rose & Dragon know how challenging it can sometimes be to remember to be mindful every day. Thus, experts often suggest that people use ‘pairing’ to attach their mindfulness to an everyday activity, such as drinking a cup of tea. Consequently, research states that the act of ‘pairing’ makes people twice as likely to stay consistent with their mindfulness meditation.
Today I’m chatting to Gabrielle all about how we can bring mindfulness to our next tea and enrich our overall experiences. We also discuss other powerful pairings to find comfort, peace, relaxation at every turn. I hope you all enjoy this brew of inspiration.
Hi Gabrielle! Firstly, can you please tell my readers all about Rose & Dragon Tea and how it came to be?
Hi Georgie! Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog!
So, a bit of background, Rose & Dragon is a brand-new tea company which releases three new flavours of tea every month and places an emphasis on creating a moment of calm. At the moment, we’ve just begun taking pre-orders and ready to send the first products out in May, I’m super excited for people to try the product!
One of the most important things for me as the founder was the quality and taste of the teas, and I’m really proud of all the unusual flavours we’re about to bring out every month.
The other thing that was really at the top of my priority list was making sure that the company would be completely plastic-free and as sustainable as possible. It really hasn’t made it easy, but thankfully I’m glad to say that the whole company is plastic-free and is as sustainable and ethical as possible.
We managed to source some cellulose-based material for the tea packaging, which imitates plastic but is completely plant-based and therefore compostable, making all the packaging either compostable or biodegradable. The company is also a part of the Sustainability Alliance which plants trees in areas of need in order to offset our paper and cardboard use.
Describe the Rose & Dragon Tea brand/ethos in 3 words:
Delicious, calming & sustainable!
What was on your mood board while putting it all together? Did you imagine any particular memories or travels or visuals that inspired the flavours etc?
One of my green tea blends is particularly inspired from my time living in Japan. It’s a cherry green tea name is Senbon Sakura which means one thousand cherry blossoms in Japanese. The flavours are so delicately sweet, it’s actually one of my favourite blends, and it’s also the name of one of my favourite Japanese songs!
If you had to pick just one tea, what would be your favourite from the collection and why?
That’s a really tough one. It really depends on how much caffeine I want at that moment. I’m super sensitive to caffeine so that’s something I always have to consider. So I’d have to say Millionaire’s Shortbread black tea in the morning, Senbon Sakura in the afternoon and Moonbeam Explorer in the evening.
Take my readers through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first collection in an ethical way. How did the seeds of inspiration grow into the collection you have today?
Making sure all of the processes and suppliers were adhering to ethical and sustainable standards is something that has been a long process. It’s part of the reason why it’s taken so long to even be able to get to a pre-order stage, but has 100% been worth it.
Designing the teas is the fun part really. I want to make sure each month has a variety of flavours and caffeine levels. Naming the teas is super fun too. Sometimes I think of the name first which creates the inspiration for the flavour, and sometimes it’s the other way round.
Seeking mindfulness by fusing the daily practice of tea drinking into our day is a huge part of the messaging behind Rose & Dragon. Can you tell us about the inspiration between finding peace with tea living in a frantic world?
I think some inspiration definitely came from my time living in Tokyo. One thing I’d noticed when I was there is that when tea is made in Japan, it’s made in a really slow and careful way. It becomes a really special and calming experience.
I was also inspired by a piece of research that I came across which says that people are twice as likely to remain consistent with their mindfulness habit if they pair it with an everyday activity, such as drinking tea, brushing their teeth or taking a shower. I thought it would be nice to make that everyday activity a special event and a moment of self-care and almost like a guilt-free, everyday treat.
Routines and rituals for the soul: can you tell us about the others little or big things that keep you feeling grounded, joyful, connected, inspired?
Mindfulness meditation is super important to me, now more than ever! My advice to people who have never tried it before is this: it can be difficult at the beginning, you might find that you don’t enjoy it or find it difficult to sit still for that amount of time, and that’s normal! Focus on how it’s good for you and see it like taking medicine! After a while of staying consistent, you will end up loving it, and honestly, it’s something I really look forward to now!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources as you have grown your business?
From a business perspective, I listened a lot to Gary Vaynerchuck’s podcasts. He gives some great advice to business owners which is to put your customer first, and that everything you are doing as an entrepreneur should be to give value to the community in some way.
From a personal perspective, I’ve recently got into Stoic journaling and have been using a book called ‘The Daily Stoic Journal’. It teaches us how to apply these ancient philosophical concepts to our own lives and helps us to become the best version of ourselves.
Describe why tea is so special in 3 words:
Healthy mind and body!
Where can we see more of Rose & Dragon Tea?
To keep updated about the pre-launch please head over to www.roseanddragon.com
And if you’d like to pre-order, you can do so over at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/roseanddragon and click on ‘choose my rewards’.
Finally Gabrielle, what is your one wish for the world?
At the moment I’m really hoping we can all get through the Corona crisis as best as possible. Please take care of your mental health at this time, practice self-care, and don’t be too hard on yourselves!
Thank you so much to Gabrielle for her time unravelling her beautiful brand Rose & Dragons’ ethos. I love that through this new brand she aims to focus on creating a moment of calm in our daily lives. It is needed more now than ever.
In our hectic lives it can be so hard to practise meditation but perhaps, for many, the answer could lie in the humble cup of tea.
If you take away anything from this interview with Gabrielle let it be that you can find some restorative calm within yourself by taking a few precious moments to re-think your tea making, and in fact, all of our daily rituals.
As we go about our daily lives, let us appreciate that nothing we do is insignificant. We can appreciate our food as we prepare it and how it nourishes us. We can appreciate our daily baths and showers and how water is cleansing, healing, psychic, and deeply spiritual no matter what our faith or beliefs.
And indeed we can turn this appreciation to making tea. From the crescendo of the water boiling in the kettle. To the steam that rises gently. To the fusion of scents and aromas. To even the comforting warmth as we hold it in our hands.
Being present throughout our lives always us steers us back to the moment in front of us. And that is the very essence of mindfulness that tea can bring so clearly.