The People Behind The Brands: Sital Nakarja, Let Loose CupTea
Updated: Nov 12
Long day? Have a cuppa. Cold outside? Have a cuppa. Sitting down for a natter with friends? Have another one. If there's one thing that Brits are famous for, it's our love of tea. In fact, it's estimated that as a nation we polish off 100 million cups of tea every single day.
With a product so established, it would be all too easy to think that there's no appetite for innovation. But in fact, the opposite is true. We spoke to Sital Nakarja, co-founder of Let Loose CupTea, an innovative fully compostable tea cup that's infused with tea leaves - therefore removing the need for traditional plastic-based tea bags - about how they're making this much-loved drink more apt for modern living.
Tell us a bit more about how you came to have the idea for your product?
Our journey for Let Loose with Tea kicked off during a trip to China. My friend and business partner experienced some amazing tea ceremonies during our trip and we consumed a lot of organic Green Tea. Both of us have a huge love for tea and during an exhibition we were intrigued to find out more about the tea industry, so we set out and met a tea farm and manufacturer of organic loose leaf tea.
We spent some time with them talking about tea and learning how they grow and produce their loose leaf tea. We were presented with the Cup Tea concept where they had integrated single origin loose leaf tea in compostable cups where all that was needed was hot water! We immediately fell in love with the concept and knew it was something we wanted to bring to the market in the UK and everywhere we could think of. We now have an exclusive relationship with the tea producer to bring Let Loose with Tea to the market.
Consumers are increasingly eco-minded when it comes to the products they choose. How does your product speak to this demand?
Our cups are made of food grade material, corn starch, which means you can enjoy a great loose leaf tea without harming the environment. Our cups deliver loose leaf tea in cups that can then be put into food waste. The best part is each cup can be re-infused up to three times, because we use loose leaves. One cup = many cups of great tasting tea! In comparison, mass market tea bags are known to contain plastics and chemicals, not to mention the contents are made of 'fannings' which are the remnants of actual tea leaves. Because of this tea bags are unable to be recycled or make it to food waste. Tea bags only deliver one cup of tea!
How is your product disrupting conventional wisdom in the tea/ hot beverages industry?
The rise in great tasting coffee and even presentation has grown exponentially. We want to do the same for tea, bring back great tasting loose leaf tea without compromise on taste and the environment.
2020 has been an interesting year for everyone – what are the big lessons you’ve learned?
Live in the time that you are in; pre-lockdown we spent all our time planning, or preparing for the future but forgot to appreciate the present moment. When lockdown happened we had to become more 'in the moment' as we did not know what the future would be or what the new 'normal' would look like. This in turn made us more fluid as we all learnt to adapt and pivot.
As a family we also learnt how little we actually need - we got creative with our meals replacing dinners at restaurants or we recreated a trip to the cinema at home.
Promoting good mental health is a big part of your business ethos, tell us a little bit more about this…
In our early years mental health was not considered as part of our well-being. Some of this, I believe, was driven by the fact that talking over dinner or a cup of tea was part of our lifestyle. But with the evolution in lifestyle, money, culture, technology, all generations are facing more complex issues. I think this has become more apparent through lockdown. We have faced our own struggles with mental health and what has helped us through has been our support network.
Out of this was born our Facebook community Let loose with Tea – it's a Facebook community with people who love tea, and want to talk about everyday issues or even just get some escape from what has been going on in the world. We had no idea how this was going to be received but knew there are a fair few people who love their hot beverages and are passionate about it.
Through lockdown we hosted our Facebook Lives called Thirs-tea Thursdays where we invited people to talk about their own life experiences, share knowledge or information. We could see there is still a need for having a chat over a cup of tea.
With more people working from home, or not being able to get out to their local coffee/tea shops to meet friends, the element of having a chat over a hot beverage would have seriously declined even more so than it has already been. Through Let Loose we want to bring back the conversation over tea. To take 5 minutes to listen to a friend or family member or even to take 5 minutes to yourself.
What’s your personal mantra?
I am healthy, I am stable, I am sound. My body is in excellent shape and my mind is at ease. I am healing myself. I accept my flaws and embrace the totality of who I am. I am perfect just the way I am.
What’s your favourite book?
That's a tough one, not sure I can pick one! For business I love The Go-Giver and for inspiration I loved listening to Michelle Obama's audio book Becoming.