Charmaine Bee’s tea blends evoke the South through poetic placed-based names and nostalgic descriptions. But the genesis of her career was much more practical: she was exploring herbal treatments for diabetes, which runs in her family, and her mother’s arthritis.
She stumbled across tea as a natural supplement to alleviate symptoms associated with a variety of ailments and she was hooked. When she shared her discovery with her family, she was surprised to learn that the tea tradition went back several generations. “My grandmother used leaves from her back yard to create teas to heal my mother and her siblings when they were sick with the flu… everything started coming together beautifully, and I learned that this culture of tea making/healing is in my family.” The name of her business, Gullah Girl Tea, is an allusion to her South Carolina childhood and a celebration of her Gullah heritage.
Her tea is already available at Saraghina Brooklyn, Stinky BKLYN and Nextdoorganics, but she needs your help to scale up. She’s launched a Kickstarter campaign, and you have two weeks to help her out. Her rewards are generous: pledge $75 or more and she’ll call you to talk about tea and let you choose three of your own teas. We may be a long way from summer in South Carolina, but “A Stroll Down Waddell Road” (peppermint and lemongrass) can keep you warm until the sun starts shining again.