Did you say Finnish tea ritual?
What would be a great way to package the finest offerings of Finnish nature and make it a global hit? This was the question Tea Girls Nina Rantala and Mirka Olin asked when they set up NORD-T.
Old friends from childhood, the duo decided to start making tea, already the second most popular beverage in the world. The tea they offer isn’t any old brew, however, but a selection of unique blends highlighting natural Nordic ingredients such as dried birch leaves, spruce sprouts, beetroot, nettles, and wild berries, which are freeze-dried to create strong, sophisticated flavours and to preserve their precious vitamins.
“We were gutted to find that most existing tea blends were made with artificial flavourings. It took us two years of product development to create tea blends with gently treated berries. All you need to do is add water to make them fresh again,” Olin explains with a steaming cuppa in hand.
NORD-T blends are available in shops and restaurants throughout Finland. Looking to expand in Europe and Asia, the duo has just returned from Japan, a country renowned for its tea culture. Later this year they plan to tour the world with their new concept: the Finnish Tea Ritual. This meditative act evokes an experience similar to enjoying a campfire in the Finnish woods and as part of the ritual, Rantala and Olin tell stories about the origins of their tea to a small audience while serving fresh, aromatic brews and a small bite to eat.
“Tea isn’t just a product – it’s an experience. We Finns tend to drink our tea very slowly and in silence, often wrapped in a shawl,” Rantala says.
“We want to export the Finnish forest and way of living for the rest of the world to enjoy,” she adds.
Text and photos Laura Iisalo