As the Salt Lake City foodie scene explodes, small businesses are driving the movement with creative, entrepreneurial efforts. Salt Lake City business and life partners Michael Ferguson and Seth Anderson are on the leading edge of the scene with a relaxing, liquid form. The couple recently launched The Queens Tea, offering artisan teas and introductory courses.
“There’s so much history and so much to learn,” said Anderson. “It was a mutual interest that we came to about a year ago. We saw the boring tea that you can get at the supermarket and we thought there must be more to it. We explored local tea shops to learn more about the plants and started drying our own fruits.”
When Ferguson had a conference to attend in China, the pair began taking courses from tea masters. Although their formal education in tea is relatively recent, Anderson is working on a master’s degree in history and Ferguson on a doctorate in functional neuroscience. At first the hobby was a way to spend time and learn together, but the innovative and driven couple decided to make it more.
Business has been moving quickly and Queens Tea products are available online at thequeenstea.com and at several markets and stores around the Salt Lake Valley. The full and growing list of stores is available on the website.
Anderson credits the quick growth to a very responsive foodie culture in Utah as well as an interest in alternative systems of health and wellness. While tea can be a very relaxing or social drink, there are also other antioxidant properties that are very valuable to a person’s health, Ferguson said. Peer reviewed studies show it can help benefit various aspects, including preventing cancer, he said.
“I think there’s a tendency to go to fruit teas when getting started. I would suggest starting with a simple green tea and learning what kinds of teas you like,” Ferguson said.
There are dozens of varieties of teas, all with their own subtleties and benefits that drinkers can explore. The teas are perfect hot or cold and enjoyed alone or with friends and family as a conversation piece, Ferguson said. Some of the teas offered by Queen’s Tea include oolong, pu-erh, white, green, black and herbal teas.
The couple is also in the process of partnering to help victims of so-called gay conversion therapy. Ferguson is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against a group conducting “ex-gay” therapy.
“We’re so excited to see it taking off and doing well,” Anderson said. “I think there’s a lot to be learned about tea, if people are just willing to give it a try.”
Queen’s Tea is an excellent option to buy local and support the queer community. For more information and to order tea, go to thequeenstea.com or find the company on Facebook at facebook.com/thequeenstea.