If you’re a cat lover (or like cute tea blends), chances are you’ve heard about Kittea. A fun, quirky tea brand founded in 2016, Kittea carries a range of delicious, cat-inspired teas. We caught up with Kittea’s founder, Inez, while she was on a trip to Bangkok for a chat on the ins-paw-ration for her brand and how she sees the tea industry changing.
I read that you founded Kittea because of your love for tea and cats – what inspired you to combine these two passions?
At that time, tea had a reputation in Singapore as being either too traditionally Western or too traditionally Chinese. And I was wondering why the teas I bought, whether locally or overseas, their branding seem to be very “stiff upper lip” (you know Singlish we call it atas) with colonial-era dates plastered across the packaging. It felt a bit dry and formal. And I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone’s first reaction to a tea product is “ So cute!” and could make people smile. So I decided to create that product. I haven’t seen anything like that in the market, and I wanted Kittea to be refreshingly different.
Do you have any specific feline muses when it comes to tea blends?
Soon after Kittea launched, we received a flood of requests for people for teas based on different cats. I think there won’t be any problem finding inspiration for new blends!
How many cats do you have or wish to have?
I have two cats right now, and we recently found a stray who visits the area outside our office regularly – I’m in talks with my parents to bring that cat home, but I think their ideal number of cats is one!
When I get my own place, I would love to have about four cats at any one time.
Where do you see Kittea in 5 years time?
I would be open for Kittea to be acquired by a bigger brand – like Sanrio – that can help grow it.
Speaking of Kittea designs, who does the designs of the cats?
I do! It all started with that cartoon cat that I thought up when I was seventeen and they slowly evolved from there to have their own cats and patterns. And when I started doing festive blends, the cats started wearing clothes as well.
You spoke about the tea industry in Singapore having a stiff upper lip. How do you see the tea industry changing?
Kittea started as an online business, but initially, I thought people would want to go to a brick and mortar store to try teas before buying. I was quite surprised when people started buying Kittea online – without having to try it! I really think that teapasar meets this idea of helping people purchase teas online – there’s this convenience factor that is quite big.
What surprises you about people’s tea choices?
It was quite a surprise to discover that Singaporeans aren’t as adventurous as I thought they would be. Maybe the sense of adventure only applies only to food and not to tea! Singaporeans like the more classic blends like Earl Grey and Chamomile for their own consumption, but will hunt for and buy the exotic, unique teas as gifts for others. There’s also a strong demand for wellness teas among the younger crowd these days. I didn’t think that they would like teas like The Siamese because ginger, lemongrass and liquorice root aren’t exactly ingredients I thought appealed to the younger folks but I see an upward trend for non-caffeinated fruits and herbal blends.
This week, #teapasar recommends The Chinese White and The Li Hua Mao. The Chinese White pays homage to the ancient Chinese art of layering pure jasmine blossoms over green tea leaves 5 to 9 times, giving you a light and fragrant brew. The Li Hua Mao is a blend of 7 different green, white and oolong teas, packed with succulent lychee and mango – we love this fruity and aromatic blend, especially as a cold brew!
As part of this brand spotlight, Kittea is offering 25% off storewide! Simply use the code “HELLOKITTEA” during checkout to enjoy this offer. Valid until 23:59, 13th Jan 2019, on all online orders only. Meow!