The story of teapasar is a love story. Our founders, both owners of tea brands themselves, love tea so much that they wanted to create a thriving tea community – not just in Singapore but across the world. One idea led to another, and last month, teapasar was officially launched. As soon as the dust from the launch settled, we grabbed Alan Lai, who is not only our co-founder but also the founder of the healthy tea brand Infusion-de-vie, for a quick chat about his first love.
Tell us a bit more about Infusion-de-vie – what’s with the name?
Alan: Infusion-de-vie means ‘tea of life’ in French. We used French because we wanted to express the East-meets-West ethos of the brand. While tea is a Chinese drink, the concept of blending is very Western. In fact, blended teas only started to take off in China five to six years ago. We introduced our TCM masters to this Western concept of blending and got them to use Chinese herbs such as ginseng and goji berries to create healthy and delicious blends.
As for the meaning behind the name, we believe that tea is as essential to life as water, and we should be aware of what’s in our teas. We decided to go a different way and flavour our teas with only natural ingredients, so none of our teas contain any additives.
How interesting! Could you tell us more about why being 100% natural and additive-free is so important to you?
It’s a bit of a long story, but did you know that most Chinese herbs are treated with some form of preservative, such as sulphur? It’s to make the herbs last, because, if you think about it, herbs are fragrant plants and attract insects easily. If the distributors want to keep it in their warehouses until it’s ready to be sold, they have to make sure that their goods won’t spoil.
To get around this, we source directly from the farms and make sure they give us only the freshest, untreated herbs. One reason why I’m willing to take the trouble for such herbs is because of my mother. She contracted leukemia a few years ago, and that made me realise that we don’t know the long term effects of what we put in our bodies. In a way, I wanted to make healthy teas for her.
Is your mother the reason why you started Infusion-de-vie?
She’s a big reason why I started Infusion-de-vie. Another reason is that I just can’t drink coffee, so I’ve always been drinking tea.
You mentioned an increase in tea varieties. Is that a trend you think will continue? If not, what other trends do you think we’ll see for tea?
I definitely think that the varieties will only continue to increase. As I mentioned earlier, the Chinese market has just started to embrace blended teas, and I think demand from China and the rest of the world will drive all brands to come up with new and innovative flavours.
Another trend that I see happening is that tea will become even more convenient to drink. Things like pre-bottled cold brewed teas, kombucha, and even quick-brew cold brew tea have been appearing in the market, and I’m sure that more of such innovations will follow.
Thanks for the insight! On a more personal note, what is your go-to tea?
I’m afraid I don’t have one! One of my favourite things about drinking tea is the variety, so I don’t have one particular favourite. However, all the teas I enjoy tend to follow a pattern – I prefer teas where the base notes of the good quality, raw tea is complemented by one or two good herbs. It’s a sort of layering – creating just the right amount of complexity that makes every sip of tea a pleasure.
Personally, we at teapasar adore Infusion-de-vie’s Replenish. We have more than one member that can’t take caffeine after four, so this tisane is a fantastic alternative. The mild sweetness of honeysuckle is complemented by the taste of snow fungus. It’s especially popular with the ladies during their time of the month, since it has so many beneficial effects!
As part of this brand spotlight, Infusion-de-vie is offering a special deal: Buy Replenish and one other tea (Reflect or Rejoice) for just $39 (U.P. $48). Plus, free shipping! This offer is valid till 23:59, 14th October 2018.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our first Brand Spotlight series. Stay tuned for more insight on your favourite brands!