A cup of steaming herbal tea. Flowers in bloom. Wellness. Slowing down. Simple pleasures.
These are not the pursuits of a typical banker who jets from Hong Kong to Singapore, later consulting for other businesses throughout Africa and Australia. But Jason Cohen had experienced enough of this fast pace, the pursuit of money for the sake of money. He wanted to do work that was meaningful to him.
So Cohen moved back home to New Rochelle and founded Flower Pot Tea Company in late February. With its dainty floral aesthetic, this is not the company you’d expect from a typical international banker. But hey, tea rocks.
The idea bloomed when Cohen found himself bringing back great tea from China for his friends and family. “When I’d go home to the U.S., I didn’t like to bring home junky souvenirs; I’d bring home snacks,” Cohen says. “I liked to bring the most non-offensive food. I like all things, but for others, I’d bring cookies or preserves.”
Still, they’d smell it and be suspicious. This common response helped shape Cohen’s idea to take some of his favorite Chinese flavors and dress them up in an approachable package. His product line does include chewy rose butter teacakes made from crushed rose petals. But the majority of his company focuses on blooming teas and tisanes, which seem like tea but technically aren’t because they’re steeped flowers instead of tea leaves.
“Tea is becoming very popular in U.S., not just in food, but in fashion and lifestyle. Wellness is big, and the flower aspect is big,” Cohen says. “Younger millennials don’t want to just buy a product and have the food; they want the whole experience. It’s this whole thing where you sit back, watch, and it relaxes you. It smells good and tastes good.”
The company’s blooming teas are dried flowers curled into balls wrapped in pastel-colored foil wrappers like chocolate truffles. Place the flower in a clear glass cup or teapot, and watch the flower unfold as you pour in the hot water. The aroma is not as subtle as the taste, which ranges from the intense bursting berry flavors finishing with earthy tones of white tea and a delicate floral bouquet to the gentle jasmine scent rounded out by herbaceous notes of white tea and delicate, sweet nectar. He also sells heatproof glassware for those warm cups of tea as well as clear dishes for iced tea in the summer.
The company’s signature product is not the best-seller, but Cohen considers it the best: Enlightening Lotus Tisane. Grown on a single plantation next to a Buddhist temple that Cohen visited himself, the lotus flower is a symbol of purity and wisdom. The flowers float serenely in still waters, soaking in the sun’s warmth.
“That lotus flower, that is not something you commonly find,” Cohen says. “That is the ultimate experience. It speaks to what I do.”
Cohen has retail partners in Connecticut, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia; Salon Perri Day Spa in Pound Ridge and Chelsea Market Baskets in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market carry Flower Pot Tea Company products; and stores in Elmsford and Rye are interested, he says. Online purchase is an option too.
Learn more at www.flowerpottea.com.
Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC who loves to cover food and fitness. Learn more at www.AmySowder.com.
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