Refreshingly Honest – An honour to hear about Honest Tea and honesty from a truly ethical entrepreneur

#Refreshinglyhonest
I was truly honoured to be one of a small group of tea bloggers and tea enthusiasts to be invited to the launch of Honest Tea in the UK, the refreshingly healthy, bottled, herbal and fruit tea drink brand from Seth Goldman, ethical entrepreneur and the company’s “TeaEO”.

The UK Honest Tea Launch

Ethical entrepreneur Seth Goldman shares his story at the launch of Honest Tea in the UK (Image Courtesy of Coca-Cola GB)

The setting was modern, intimate and, to quote the brand’s strapline, refreshingly honest. In the unlikely urban oasis environment of trendy Shoreditch venue, Look Mum, no hands! and flanked by a miniature orange grove created especially for the occasion, a row of tables were set out with newly sprouted lemon balm shrubs in vintage packing crates and fantastically tasty, healthy food providing the perfect backdrop for the tasty, refreshing teas.

The miniature orange grove

The miniature orange grove set up for the UK launch of Honest Tea

A delightfully sunny summer’s day was the ideal setting. After a thirsty journey to get to the launch, I was very glad of my first bottle of the Pomegranate and Blueberry variety – a sweet, fruity blend that was just right and matched the food that was served perfectly. I also enjoyed a Honey and Lemon Honest Tea, which was soothing to a hay fever induced scratchy throat.

Honest Tea has a genuinely remarkable story, springing up from humble beginnings around a Maryland kitchen table in 1998 and growing to be the best selling tea in the USA by 2007. The Honest Tea journey and growth shows how a combination of a strong mission, vision and ethics are the key ingredients to a recipe for a successful business that works to make the world a better place. It was fascinating to hear Seth tell us his story with great warmth, honesty, humour and humility.

Some of the UK Honest Tea blends

Lemon with Honey and Pomegranate and Blueberry Honest Tea blends

Seth was also more than happy to share his thoughts, advice and tools of the trade for those launching or looking to run ethical and healthy food and drink businesses, which is certainly refreshing and was sincerely welcomed by the group. You can read the whole story in Seth’s book, Mission in a Bottle –  well worth a read as a tea lover, businessperson, or if you too are an aspiring ethical entrepreneur.

The brand was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2011, but despite this phenomenal growth and success, the company has remained true to its original mission and vision – -a refreshing approach. You can find out more about Seth’s vision, his work as “TeaEO” and the Honest Tea ethos at drinkhonest.co.uk and on the Coca-Cola UK blog.

Seth Goldman shares his story

Hearing about the outlook for the food and drink industry and the remarkable Honest Tea story from its founder, Seth Goldman

Seth believes that the food and drink industry is going through a profound change currently, with a new focus on health and sustainability, without compromising on quality and taste. He describes their original vision as a hope to “shift people’s diets toward organic, authentic beverage recipes that taste ‘just a tad sweet’.” This drive for low sugar and caffeine free products is opening up innovation in tea, in particular, something I will return to on the blog in my series on tea for health. As well as being Certified Organic and approved by the Soil Association, the packaging is fully recyclable and made partially from plant materials from sugar cane. There’s a delicious, “circle of life” feeling to a drink designed to replace sugary drinks coming in packaging made from sugar cane!

The Honest Tea varieties at the launch

Lemon balm – one of  the ethically sourced herbal ingredients in the Honest Tea varieties

This new perspective in the industry poses great opportunities for authentic brands with simple ingredients and a planet and human-friendly ethos. He is also an advisor to and on the board of a number of other like-minded food startups, including a plant-based burger that could be set to challenge the carnivorous options at the BBQ!

Seth is genuinely excited and spoke humbly about Honest launching in the UK, saying, “This is one of those pinch-me moments. We can’t wait to share our drinks with folks in the UK and are confident the Honest name and brand values will translate without the need of an interpreter.”

An amazing afternoon with like minded people and words of wisdom from an inspiring businessman and human being. It will be great to see what’s next for the Honest Tea brand and Seth’s other admirable business ventures.

Honest Tea is stocked in a number of bars and restaurants in the UK (like Look Mum, No Hands!) and can be found in Whole Foods (the first store to buy the fledgling brand in the US in the early days), Co-Op and branches of M&S Simply Food at BP Connect service stations.

Seth Goldman's book, Mission in a Bottle

Seth Goldman’s book, Mission in a Bottle

Summer Recipe Corner: Guest Chef Scott Turnbull

Adventures in tea and food…

Changing my diet and lifestyle over the past few months thankfully hasn’t put an end to my tea adventures!

Teapots from The Teapot Dude

A fab range of teapots from The Teapot Dude – one for every occasion, from festivals, to weddings, to birthdays!

I was delighted when the lovely team at The Teapot Dude sent me a selection of their fantastic teapots – the versatile teapot peg design brightens up an ordinary cup or mug and can be matched to any important occasion.

Groovy Festival Tea from The Teapot Dude

Groovy, baby! A pre-Foodies Festival cuppa from The Teapot Dude – All you need is love!

I particularly enjoyed trying out the very latest design, All You Need is Love, inspired by festival fever, to get myself in the mood for Foodies Festival not far from my home in beautiful Syon Park.

Tasked with changing my diet to gluten and dairy free, I was a little worried about finding anything I could eat at Foodies Festival in Syon Park. I needn’t have worried – I came back with all manner of gluten and dairy free goodies!

In the process of experimenting with new dishes and alternatives to my usual favourites, also avoiding a number of other foods that cause me problems, I asked my dear friend Scott for some recipe ideas. Some summery, simple dishes that would complement some of my latest teas.

Tasty dinners for tea people

Tea People Tea and yummy Foodies goodies

Fabulous tea and goodies from Foodies Festival at Syon Park

These dishes go particularly well with the very different teas from Tea People that I picked up at the Syon Park Foodies Festival, especially the Masala Chai and the Choco Mint Rooibos. Tea People is a wonderful social enterprise organisation, blending a delicious, unique range of teas, giving half their profits to education projects in tea growing regions. I met the lovely team behind Tea People at Foodies and they have a wonderful story – find out more at www.teapeople.co.uk/our-story

Scott has come up with some mouthwatering recipes that fit the bill perfectly – I hope you enjoy them!

Bean Salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Bean salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Scott’s Bean Salad

Ingredients

215g Butter bean
235g Cannellini beans
1/2 finely chopped red onion
Handful of fine beans (topped & tailed)
1/2 handful of fresh chopped mint
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1tablespoons lemon juice
1tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 the chopped red onion
1/2 the chopped mint.
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice & pomegranate jewels.

  1. Cook the tinned beans as per instructions ( I do mine in the microwave – quick and easy!)
  2. Drain in a sieve under cold running water, then leave over bowl to drain further.
  3. Boil some water in a pan, add a pinch of salt, then add the fine beans once water is boiling. (Make sure you only leave in the water for 90 seconds, as you want the beans to still be green and crisp)
  4. After 90 seconds, drain and put into ice cold water to stop them cooking.
  5. Drain all the beans & place in a large salad bowl, add 3 tablespoons pomegranate jewels, 1/2 of the finely chopped red onion and 1/2 the mint and gently toss together.

For the vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients from the list and whisk together until it begins to emulsify. Drizzle over the salad & enjoy. It’s that easy!

Mojito Chicken
This is a fab summer chicken dish, and the flavours complement the bean salad perfectly. Also great with summer cocktails!

Mojito Chicken

Scott’s Mojito Chicken

Ingredients
12 chicken legs (washed)
1tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1/2tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons of white rum
1 tablespoons of dark rum
1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (half the lime)
1/2 handful of fresh mint roughly chopped or torn.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and finely ground white pepper into a large plastic container, add the chicken legs, and shake it up, baby!

Ok, now you’ve had your daily exercise, lets get to the fun part…!

Sprinkle the sugar  all over the chicken, pour over the lime juice and rum and sprinkle in 1/2 of the chopped mint. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight to marinate.

Once marinated, set the oven to Gas Mark 7/200 degrees in a fan assisted oven/220 degrees in an electric oven.

Place marinated chicken on a baking tray covered in tin foil, pour over the remaining juice, fold over the foil so it’s 1/2 covered and leave to cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

After this time, open up the foil, turn the chicken legs and leave for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up a bit.

Once done, decorate with a sprig of mint, place on plate and enjoy! Perfect with summer cocktails, iced mint tea, or a nice pot of Chocolate Mint Roiboos!

I hope you enjoy trying out these fabulous, healthy summer recipes. Follow Scott on Instagram at Callisto22 for more fab recipes and drool-worthy pictures of his latest creations!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Rachael and Scott xx

Scott and me at the Labyrinth Masked Ball

Guest Chef Scott Turnbull with me at the fabulous Labyrinth Masked Ball!