Shaelee Evans is doing more than making tea that tastes good — she’s creating tea that is good for her customers and a business that benefits the community.
Evans is a single mother of three children, a college student pursuing a degree in business and is kick-starting her new tea house, where she can share her love of tea with the Sequim community.
Her business, Goodness Tea, sells organic loose-leaf tea online, in local retail stores and in her new tea house.
Open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday off US Highway 101 west of Carlsborg, the tea house is next to La Paw Spa and Blue Sage Property Management, Inc.
While Evans just opened the business’ doors on Dec. 11, she has been selling her organic loose-leaf tea blends and baked goods at the Port Angeles and Sequim Farmer’s Markets over the past two years.
“It’s been a really difficult dream to manifest,” Evans said. “I wanted to take care of my kids in a way that feels good.”
Her business has been in the works since 2007 when she first got her business license and was selling her herbal tea blends to friends. Her business resurfaced in 2014 when she wanted to focus on a different career path and lifestyle for her family.
The idea for her business came while she was pregnant with her first child in 2005. During that time, her midwife made a tea that she called “swamp water,” and thought of ways she could improve the tea’s taste with additional ingredients.
“(I) started looking into what can I add to this that’s going to make it taste better but not detract from its nutritional profile,” she said.
Hence the name, “Goodness Tea.” Evans said she wanted to start a business that not only provides for her children but also creates nutritional products for her customers and the community in a sustainable way.
“Goodness Tea makes the best organic tea and trail-foods we can,” Evans’ website says.
“That means our raw-materials come from close to home, our processes really matter to us, and the end product ought to sustain us wherever the trail leads.”
Her retail line consists of a variety of organic loose-leaf tea blends, trail snacks and granola from produce grown locally.
“The retail side of it is loose-leaf tea and trail food,” Evans said, “and taking local produce and making trail food out of it and granola with Nash’s oats.”
Evans said she hopes her retail products can encourage her customers and members of the community to be more connected to their food.
“I figured if my tea can be on the shelf next to a box of tea, it can take something you’re used to getting in a package that you’re really detached from and suddenly you’re connected to the plants and the process,” she said.
She said the same idea applies to her trail food — which she said just got licensed —and is excited to sell what she calls Adventure Chips made out of sprouted quinoa mixed with local produce.
“It’s protein and vegetables in a chip which is wonderful because it comes from here,” she said.
“It’s a way for people to have access to healthy food and a way to get themselves to eat vegetables.”
She added that for the community this way of transforming local produce into chips can even be used for emergency preparedness.
“If I keep doing this, we’re going to have emergency survival food and we’re in the habit of turning our excess produce into chips.”
From her products to her packaging, Evans is making sure she demonstrates sustainability and supports fair trade. She uses biodegradable tree cellulose for the plastic part of her loose-leaf tea packages and her coffee beans come from Grounds for Change based in Poulsbo to support women farmers in Peru.
Where to buy
Goodness tea loose-leaf tea blends are sold at local stores such as Country Aire, Sunny Farms and Nash’s Farm Store at about $8.95 per bag and online at http://goodnesstea.com/shopgoodness/ starting from $7-8, depending on the blend.
Evans said she will continue selling her tea blends and baked goods at the Port Angeles Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday, year-round, and Sequim Farmer’s Market 9 a.m.-3 p.m. from May-October.
She also plans to sell Community Supported Goodness plans (CSGs) for her drinks, granola and trail foods online at http://goodnesstea.com/shopgoodness/csgdrinks.
She said these plans allow customers to commit to a certain amount of drinks or products for a designated amount of time.
These CSG plans will help establish a base line of wages for her business so she can hire more employees and provide internship opportunities.
Evans said she plans to have a grand opening and open house from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, and a dance party following starting at 8 p.m.
To learn more about Goodness Tea or to shop online, go to http://goodnesstea.com/ or visit the tea house at 261043 US-101 Unit 3, Sequim.