Meet the Maker: Laura Riggs who, like the Hatter, says “it’s always tea time”

Red Front Door wants you to get to know Laura, the master tea brewer, of Sonora Blossom Tea Co. So we asked…

How long have you done this? How did you learn? What inspired you to start it- let alone make it a gig?

I have been making tea for 2 years. A friend of mine gave me a book about tea and different herbs. I love using a more holistic approach to health and this book had it all. I did a little research and found that there are tea and herb companies that had the same values and goals I had and could supply me with the ingredients I needed to move forward. It started out slow but then I started selling my tea at Highland Yard Vintage Market in Chandler and the rest was history.

What inspires you to continue?

I love iced tea, and I can make it better than any other company I've found. I love trying new combinations and testing new flavors. Right now, I just perfected a sweet mint green tea, and I'm working on a blueberry pomegranate green tea.

What's the most difficult thing about your craft?

Coming up with new flavors that don't mimic other companies but still taste good. I get inspiration from cocktail recipes. So when making a new iced tea I look at different flavor combinations used in mixed drinks then decide if it would taste good with a black, green, oolong, white or herbal tea. Then it's trial and error from there. On any given day I have 8-9 different mason jars in my fridge with different flavor combinations to figure out what the best one is. As for dry tea most of the teas that serve a purpose (Dream, Elderberry, Immune) I just mix together different herbs that have the components I need. Like valerian root for sleep, elderberry for colds, and ginseng for immune support. Most of the herbal teas that serve a purpose don't taste very good so then I add different things like cinnamon, berries, or mint to mask some of those really strong herbs.

Why are you different than other makers in your field?

I use all organic ingredients and my packaging is completely compostable. I strive to be a sustainable company and only work with companies that are like-minded.

What's the craziest flavor you've ever made?

Caramel Custard Oolong Tea

What is your favorite, and least, favorite flavor to make?

Mango Peach Black Iced Tea. Fruity Spice (it has licorice to make it sweet and I hate licorice...)

Do you stick with trends or follow your own path?

I do a little of both. I did just release my Punkin Chai (pumpkin spice chai) and I know it will sell fast. I also make some flavors like Coco Nutz (coconut vanilla oolong) that not a lot of customers are interested in but I just love it.

Have you ever wanted to give up? What kept you from giving up?

Yes, November is my busiest month and by the end, I'm completely worn out. That's when I want to give up. But I know that gifting season is only 3 months long and I know I can breathe in January so I just power through.

Do you ever feel pressure in what you do?

Absolutely, all the time. I'm not big on social media but it's a huge part of any small business. It's very overwhelming sometimes.

Is this your full-time job or do you have another job?

This is my full-time job.

What parts of your personality work well with what you do and those that do not?

I am an introvert and get very nervous when making conversation with people. I never know what to say or if I say things right. This makes shows and interacting with customers hard. Mixing and packaging tea is a one-woman job so I really love that part.

Do you like coffee?

I do like coffee. However, I start my day with a matcha latte.

Tell us something most people wouldn't know about what you do.

Most teas are flavored with baking flavors, and it takes a long time to get the flavoring right. Tea has to sit and infuse with flavors for at least a month before it's ready to enjoy.

Tell us a fun or strange fact about YOU.

I am an absolute crime junkie. I have 7 different true crime podcasts that I listen to every day.

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