Appropriately enough, it all began over tea, in a dark, snow-bound eastern European capital... Opening a tea house was the craziest ideas we ever had but also one of the best decisions we've ever made. Who's we?!
Well, there's me, Ramona and I wish I had a shiny pound coin for every person who tries guessing where I'm from! I am from Romania and yes I was named after the song (ask your grandparents). In that part of the continent you only drink "tea" if you're ill. And "tea" was sort of "twig soup" of leaves, flowers, roots, stems or anything that could be foraged, then dried on newspapers on our sunny balcony. Then this botanical debris was boiled and mixed with ungodly amounts of sugar to resemble a hot, sweet liquid in which chunks of crusty bread are dipped and thus one had a light meal! So different.
Then there's Alan, my husband who is indeed British and introduced me to the world of "real tea". Together, we decided to create "homes from home" for tea lovers (but not exclusively), doily-free, non-stuffy, quirky environments where traditional meets contemporary and people can enjoy this traditional beverage in a more modern, different way...
We love what we do and we hope you'll love it too. Stay loose.
Alan & Ramona Richards
P.S. If you browse our eShoppe you'll notice we have added means to easily donate to a charity which is close to our hearts, the "Wild at Heart Foundation". The donations start at 25p but you could add as many as you want to your shopping basket - your generosity will help them put an end to the suffering of stray dogs all over the world. Please click here if you want to know more about their amazing work and their fight to end the rising tide of cruelty, abuse and neglect. Believe in dog, and because dogs don't have a voice, you will never stop hearing ours. Thank you!
Do you want to know more about us and our TEAm? Read below...
Alan, Co-owner (a.k.a The Boss)
The Earl to my Grey, Alan is a food technologist and used to travel a lot for business (this is how we met but that's a story for another time). We shared the dream of owning a quirky tea place when we first stumbled upon one, owned by local artist Fero Liptak in cold, snowy Bratislava in 2006. Inside it was warm and cosy, there were hand-drawn paintings all over the walls, we drank unusual teas from stoneware cups and didn't want to ever leave. 8 years later, slowly dreaming and brewing the idea, and after a particularly bad cup of tea served to us in a high street chain (you know who are!) where they put the bag, the milk and some lukewarm water together in a mug and charged a small fortune for a murky brew, we decided that we all deserve better and it's "Now or Never" time. Fortunately Hatto's Barbershop in The Ginnel was up for sale and, although its diminutive size was a little worrying, we fell in love with the building and its location and decided to give it our all and make it work. So that's our story, Tea Inc. est. 2014, and never looked back... Factoid: Alan is responsible for eating all the Tunnocks teacakes and wafers used to wrap up the famous Tunnocks chair in the Devizes Shoppe and "paving" the Marlborough floor. Favourite tea: any good oolong.
Boris the Teadog, the Silent Partner (a.k.a The Cute One)
His main skill is clearing the tables instantly with one firm tail wag. Boris is truly a Tea Dog as he loves milky tea. It’s thanks to Boris and his brother Tyson that Tea Inc. is a dog-friendly place as we have experienced first hand what it means to be turned away, hungry and thirsty, from less friendly establishments.
Ramona, Co-owner (a.k.a The Real Boss)
Yes I have my “The Real Boss” mug to prove it! But they also call me "queen of cuisine" (natch). I am happiest in the kitchen but they allow me outside from time to time ;-) Have you seen the sign on the kitchen door “BEWARE OF THE CHEF”? Yes, it was made especially for me. Although I’m fine if you feed me cake. I am a Chemical Engineer, having studied Organic Chemistry hence I drew the chemical formula for “caffeine” behind the coffee machine to make me feel at home. At the moment, having finally conquered Matcha preparations, I am trying to get my head around Kombucha, the next big thing in the tea universe (so they say). I love my daily "Nellie coffee" - a mean flat white made especially for me by Nellie, and I am also very partial to a masala chai (have you tried our masala chai blend with condensed milk? it's blooming amazing!)
Devizes TEAm: Elaina - Nellie to our regular customers :-)
We couldn't be happier to introduce Elaina, who owns our pocket-sized kitchen in Devizes on the days when I’m allowed out. She loves and is passionate about cooking and she makes a mean flat white (it's called a "Nellie coffee" if you really want to know). Nellie loves her family and they often visit her for a cuppa and scones. Her favourite tea is White tea and pomegranate! Also Nellie has mastered the ancient art of Matcha whisking and enjoyed filming the whole process for our website eShoppe...several times!
Devizes TEAm: Alex Scott
Meet Alex. Or Scottie. Or you probably know him as the guy that's permanently polite, smiling, saying something clever about tea, or suggesting new and daring tea blends. We know him as the guy that's turning up for work an hour early when he's working and just turning up for tea as a customer when he's not :-) He is a huge fan of Star Trek and Dungeons & Dragons. He is probably the only person on the planet to have tried all the teas on our menu. Twice. He makes our happy little TEAm complete, he is our very own tea geek and we can only hope he'll never ever change! Favourite tea? Earl Grey, of course. Hot. Make it so ;-)