International Women's Day: Interview with MITSUTEA Founder, Mitsu
As part of AMMA’s ‘International Women’s Day: Female Founders’, we sat down with the delightful Mitsu and discussed her enterprise, MITSUTEA.
MITSUTEA lives by one philosophy; to bring you a delicious single-origin tea sourced ethically from Sri Lanka’s tea estates. Bringing a new level to the tea experience, with their focus on tea times as a point of human connection and relaxation. With tea breaks on the rise due to many people now working from home, we are excited to speak to Mitsu and find out what it takes to get the brew just right when it comes to building a sustainable tea business.
What inspired you to start MITSUTEA?
I went to England as a backpacker and drank a shockingly delicious tea with milk. For the first time I understood that tea could be so delightful. I quit the newspaper company I was working for, spent a year alone in Sri Lanka, and learned about the difficulty of making tea through the experience of tea picking. I felt that a single tea origin had a wonderful aroma and was incredibly tasty. Black tea, which is sprayed with artificial flavors, just didn’t have the same pleasurable taste, and so I wanted to convey the same single-origin tea from tea plantations in Sri Lanka.
What values have you installed into your business and why?
Indian Darjeeling and flavored Earl Gray tea are famous black teas in Japan. Sri Lankan black tea has seven major production areas. Though they all have different aromas and flavors, they are grouped together as Ceylon tea. Unfortunately, the tea estate is not well known and so I want to create a special Sri Lankan tea shop in Japan and introduce the deliciousness of single origin tea.
How have these values helped keep MITSUTEA alive during the Covid-19 pandemic?
The store was forced to close for a little while, and as lifestyles changed, the number of people working at home increased. At the same time, the demand for simple and delicious tea at home increased, and therefore mail-order sales increased. We changed from face-to-face tea lessons to online lessons because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and so we had an influx of new customers.
How do you go about sourcing tea while being responsible to people and the planet?
Black tea produced from the land of Sri Lanka is a very valuable agricultural product that is picked by each person. We purchase only the amount that can be sold and do not waste 1 gram of tea.
I can see that you offer online tea lessons. Tell us a little more about the connection between people and tea you are hoping to build?
Drinking a cup of tea is a time to relax and a time to connect with your friends. I think it's a great activity in life. In order to enjoy the tea time more, we will teach you how to appreciate tea in our online lessons. Black tea is the only drink that can be enjoyed endlessly, not only by brewing it, but also by combining it with ingredients such as milk, soy milk, herbs, spices, alcohol, and seasonal fruits. During the lesson, participants will brew tea in their kitchens and experience its wonders. By communicating the fun of black tea, you will be able to enjoy each tea time even more.
For others looking to start their own business what top tips would you give?
In this era of overflowing information, it is important to pursue your passion and to pursue experiences.
How did AMMA catch your eye and what made you want to work with us?
I found AMMA on Instagram. I have first handedly experienced living on a tea estate, and so I easily sympathize with using tea. I love to support and collaborate with AMMA's activities for estate women.
AMMA’s experimenting with tea dye.
AMMA tea dyed products for MITSUTEA.
As it is International Women's Day, could you share with us a piece of advice for our readers who may be aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Have a mission for what you are starting a business for. To flexibly respond to the trends of the times. Be grateful to your family and those around you.
The International Women's Day hashtag is #ChoosetoChallenge - what does this mean to you?
Life is only once. Challenges are needed to lead a life without regrets. Enjoy!
Also if you missed the last two interviews in our International Women’s Day series with our very own workshop manager Meena, and Wunder Workshop’s founder Zoe, then click on the links and check them out.
We have our final female founder interview going live tomorrow – you don’t want to miss it!
Written by Izzy Bevir