Millennia TEA co-founder Tracy Bell is on a mission to share the freshest and most antioxidant-rich tea anywhere. She shares with us how a health scare prompted her family to reimagine the way tea is processed, and to create a new global category for tea.
Millennia’s teas are the “most antioxidant-rich” anywhere. How do your teas achieve this distinction?
Our fresh leaf teas maximize antioxidants because of the way we process, or perhaps more appropriately, how we limit the processing of our tea leaves. At Millennia TEA, we deliver tea in a way that’s opposite to the rest of the world. We wash and flash-freeze fresh-picked organic tea leaves instead of drying and heating them like conventional teas. This way, we safeguard the benefits of the mighty tea leaf and maximize its ability to fuel wellness and prevent disease.
Millennia TEA is the world’s first real, raw, whole food tea. The clean, undried tea is kept in its most naturally powerful form to deliver five times the antioxidants of a quality organic green tea, and is made from the very same tea leaves.
You can find Millennia TEA in the freezer section of the store, next to the superfoods and smoothie ingredients. And we encourage folks to use our products to supercharge their morning smoothie. When you wash tea and keep it in its most real form, and then consume the leaf in its entirety (i.e. in the blender), you get the maximum amount of antioxidants a tea leaf can offer.
Millennia’s teas are also extremely fresh. Can you tell us why this matters and what the benefits of fresh tea leaves are?
It’s important to understand two critical things about tea to fully comprehend why fresh matters here. The first is that all teas start out from the same leaf, called Camellia sinensis. Its processing, or how the leaf is “cooked” after plucking, determines whether the finished tea will be a black “tea bag” tea, a loose leaf green tea or a white tea.
Secondly, there’s some science. There’s a powerhouse antioxidant in tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and it’s really effective at fighting free radical damage and protecting cells. If you drink tea for health, you drink it for EGCG, whether you realize it or not.
EGCG levels are highest in fresh-picked tea leaves, and drop off with prolonged exposure to heat, light and air. Interestingly, this is how all conventional teas are processed.
At Millennia TEA, we’re on a mission to fuel wellness with the freshest and most antioxidant-rich teas anywhere. That means doing to tea what we do to our frozen fruits and veggies: picking them at their nutritional prime and flash-freezing to maximize freshness, flavour, and health.
The data is what gets us excited. One serving of fresh leaf tea is like drinking five cups of green tea. And if you put the tea in a blender and enjoy it like a fresh matcha, or pop it in your smoothie, you consume the whole leaf and get as many EGCG antioxidants as 15 cups of green tea, made from the very same leaves.
The health benefits of EGCG are extensive and well documented in scientific and medical research: from reducing stress and inflammation, increasing energy and supporting a healthy weight to slowing the aging process, supporting heart and brain health, and preventing certain kinds of cancers.
As a bonus, fresh leaf tea doesn’t have the bitter taste you get with conventional teas. The experience is light and refreshing, like travelling into the mountains of Sri Lanka, picking the leaves yourself and pouring boiling water on them.
We know a health scare in the family is what led you to create the company, and a new category of tea. Can you tell us the story?
In 2016, we had a cancer scare in the family. It was our first close encounter with the disease (which later turned out to be a misdiagnosis, thankfully). That event led my husband Rory and I to learn about things we had not previously considered. We learned about free radicals; how they’re roaming around in our bodies and can lead to disease if not neutralized. And we learned antioxidants neutralize free radicals, and that the EGCG antioxidants found in tea are particularly effective at fighting free radical damage and protecting cells. EGCG antioxidants are highest in fresh tea.
We also learned thousands of years ago – a “millennia” ago – when tea was discovered, it was considered medicinal and was consumed with fresh leaves from the field. It was only when countries started exporting their tea overseas that they started drying and fermenting the leaves.
So we went searching for fresh tea. When we couldn’t get it, we decided to create it. We wanted to give families like ours the chance to experience tea in its most real, raw, and naturally powerful form.
What are the biggest challenges your company has encountered on the road to success?
When you say the words “fresh tea”, most people can’t picture what that means. We’re creating a new global category of tea, and that requires a huge amount of public education. But we believe we’re in the best position of any company in the world to tell the story of tea, and we’re passionate about the potential for fresh-leaf tea to fuel wellness and fight illness.
Another challenge we face is finding tea farmers on the other side of the world with the ability and interest to make tea in a way that’s different than what they’ve always done. We spent three years searching the world over for the right partners and tea origin. But we’re there now, and beyond excited to bring fresh-leaf tea to the world.
What’s the company’s vision for the future?
Our vision is a world where people come together to enjoy tea in its most real, raw, and naturally powerful form, the way it was a millennia ago.
Orange Gingerade Smoothie
This green smoothie will jump-start your day. It’s jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants to stimulate a strong immune system, promote clarity, benefit your metabolism, and deliver a zen-like focus to fuel your best day. This recipe is the perfect amount for two smoothie servings.
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 banana, peeled
- ½ inch ginger root
- 1 Millennia TEA cube
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 cup water or coconut water
- ½ cup ice
- Other add-ins: 1 scoop protein powder, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp flax meal, 1 tsp spirulina
- Prepare solid ingredients and place them into a blender.
- Add liquid and ice to the blender.
- Blend for 90 seconds.