Millennia Takes Tea Back to its Roots with Products Made From Fresh-Picked Leaves

Millennia Takes Tea Back to its Roots with Products Made From Fresh-Picked Leaves

ARTICLE DATE Jul 13, 2017

A few years ago Tracy and Rory Bell had a cancer scare in their family, and they were told by health professionals to find the most antioxidant-rich teas you can, “and drink them all day long,” says Tracy.

Rory did a “deep dive” into learning about the healing properties of tea and a “powerhouse” antioxidant called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). As he read through papers and medical studies, he learned that the levels of EGCG were highest in the hours after the tea leaves were picked.

“So Rory says, ‘We need fresh tea leaves.’ And we couldn’t find anyone who could sell them to us, who could get some to us in the time frame we needed,” said Tracy in a recent interview at Locavore Café in Saint John.

“And that was when Rory said, ‘Well there must be a way to get fresh-leaf tea.’ “

Well, it turns out there wasn’t a way unless you happened to live near a tea plantation. Fortunately for the Bells, the cancer scare turned out to be false, and the ordeal had given birth to the Bells’ new business – a company called Millennia TEA with an innovative flash-freezing method that preserves the freshness of freshly picked leaves.

“We learned that tea was considered medicinal when it was discovered a millennia ago – which is where the company name comes from – and was made with fresh leaves back then,” says Tracy. “So we thought, why don’t we go back to that period and bring people fresh-leaf tea.”

“When [industry] people go to tea-producing countries each year to buy tea, they drink it fresh from the fields and that’s a special experience. But most people, as consumers, have never had it fresh.”

After doing some more research, they hit upon the idea of flash-freezing the tea leaves, much like producers already do with fruits and vegetables. “It safeguards the [freshness],” says Tracy. “So that’s what we set out to do.”

They incorporated Millennia in the spring of 2016, sourced tea leaves in the U.S. near flash-freezing facilities and hired bioscientists to conduct lab tests to make sure their theory was credible, and “it was,” says Tracy...