Wellness in a Cup
Queen Esther Teas makes unique blends
When over-the-counter medications for digestive issues like heartburn and indigestion stopped working for ADRIENNE ARRINGTON-KENION, she turned to herbs.
“I started researching natural remedies, which led me to herbs,” she says. “I became interested in how to get them inside my body and found the easiest way was to make tea.”
Arrington-Kenion says she felt an immediate change in her body, “It seemed like my throat, esophagus, and body relaxed.” Soon her friends asked her to make teas for them and a business was budding.
Tea, which has its origins in China, contains substances linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, according to an article by Harvard Health Publishing. While it’s not a magic bullet, it is part of a healthy lifestyle when paired with an overall healthy diet of whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, and less red and processed meat,” says Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, in the Harvard Health Publishing article.
“With the pandemic, my side business turned into my full-time business,” she says. The mother of four with a degree in psychology worked in the school system. Now, Arrington-Kenion runs Queen Esther Teas and can be found sourcing organic ingredients from local co-ops like Lovey’s Market and Tidal Creek Co-op and selling her teas at markets and online.
The business is named after her grandmother, Esther. “She carried herself like a queen – with grace – and was so kind,” she says.
After making the initial tea blend, Arrington-Kenion researched teas that could help boost immunity. “Vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc are found naturally in herbs,” she says. When creating new tea blends, she considers what she wants the tea to do, like help with sleep. The result is tea blends with clever names like Immunitea, Sleeping Beau-tea, Anti-Anxitea, and Diabetea. “Teas are easy and don’t have to be complicated,” Arrington-Kenion says. “Our body is naturally made to interact with natural herbs. My teas help your body operate at its best.”
Arrington-Kenion uses loose teas. “It’s more flavorful, because it’s the whole leaf and not broken down.” When mixing blends, she is very picky about the flavor. “Even though tea is good for you, I want my teas to taste good. By using teas that have naturally bright and beautiful flavors, I want to make sure that it’s pleasing to your palate so that you can enjoy it, as well as feel good from drinking it.”
She says tea also encourages people to slow down. “It quiets the mind. As you wait for your tea to steep, you can be present, offer gratitude, and focus on what you can control, right now,” she says.
Arrington-Kenion hopes to expand Queen Esther Teas by creating more tea blends and seeing more stores and restaurants offer her blends. While running a business and keeping up with growth can be daunting, she says it’s fun and exciting.
“As a Black-owned business, it was intimidating at first,” Arrington-Kenion says. “There aren’t a lot of us in the community, but I have been pleasantly surprised and grateful for the embrace of the entire community. And, once you become a customer, you become like family.”
Queen Esther Teas are available online at queenestherteas.com, on tap at The Kitchen Sink in the Brooklyn Arts District, in bulk at the Homegrown Market in the Cargo District, and at local markets and pop-ups. Follow Queen Esther Teas on social media for updated locations.
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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