Just in Time for Summer, Local Business Owner Launches Iced Tea Subscription Service
NEW ORLEANS – Sweet tea may be the quintessential summer drink of the south, but the smooth tastes of basic iced tea are savored throughout the country.
According to Knud Berthelsen, the founder of a personalized tea subscription service called Free Your Tea, 80-percent of tea sold in the United States is iced tea. Most of those products, he says, comprise “low-grade tea dust, which is brewed hot and strong, before it’s diluted with ice.” As a result, the first sip of tea is bitter, while the last one is weak.
Berthelsen, who begins his day with a robust cup of hot tea rather than coffee, is proving that this doesn’t have to be the case. Last week he officially launched an iced tea subscription service featuring loose-leaf teas meant for creating cold-brewed iced teas, which are especially satisfying when brewed overnight in the refrigerator.
The iced tea subscription allows subscribers to discover cold brewed loose-leaf black, green, white, oolong, blended, and even caffeine-free rooibos teas.
His New Orleans-based company sends each customer a batch of loose-leaf teas, hand-picked from tea plantations around the world. Clients can rate and review the teas, and ultimately create a collection of brews that suits their tastes.
Berthelsen launched Free Your Tea in 2017.
“We recently sold our 60,000th cup of tea, and the feedback and data we are getting from our subscribers, as well as the pure volume of tea, is certainly helping us expand our offerings,” said Berthelsen, a Norwegian native who now calls New Orleans home.
“We decided to create the iced-tea subscription because of the reactions we get whenever we bring cold brewed versions of our teas to local events, or share them in the coworking space,” said Berthelsen, who works in a Launch Pad office on Poydras Street. “Everybody loves them, and they are so much more interesting in taste than the iced teas we are all used to.”
Berthelsen says the service is the first of its kind.
“We've been planning it since last summer and spent time testing an incredible amount of tea samples to find the very best ones for cold-brewed iced tea,” he said, adding that there are more surprises in store for fans of Free Your Tea. “We are working on two other new offerings that we hope to be able to share soon.”
Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur is the associate news editor of BizNewOrleans.com