Like many, Boulder couple Darcie Shively and John Kieselhorst found themselves drinking a lot more tea while at home during the pandemic. Pretty quickly, the dissonance between the tea’s zen branding and the zeitgeist set in.
“We’d be drinking these teas and reading the labels on them, and it would just be all this zen stuff while the world was really falling apart around you,” Darcie explains. “And we were just laughing as we were reading them because it’s so ludicrous. It was like, ‘Yes, I can feel what you’re saying…but not really at all.’”
So they set out to make a tea brand that lightened things up a bit. Enter: Irreverent Tea. The couple worked with an award-winning formulator in Amelia Island, Florida to execute one-of-a-kind concepts, which launched last fall. Darcie and John share a background working at advertising agencies and handled the branding and packaging design themselves. Currently, the brand offers six classic flavors but each with their own twist.
For example, the nighttime tea, “Joyride,” boasts a dream-inducing mix of chamomile and valerian to encourage lucid dreaming. The green tea, “Awoke,” is actually blue, thanks to butterfly pea, but turns purple when you add lemon. "Part of This Nutritious Breakfast Tea" boasts notes of coffee, so as Darcie puts it, “You don’t have to choose.”
“I think we just want to infuse a little bit more fun in the world again and help people take themselves a little less seriously. I just feel like people are very hard on themselves now in a way that I don’t remember people being growing up," she says. "We just want to try to help people take better care of their health, but have fun while doing it.”
The teas are available locally at Cedar & Hyde, Lucky’s Bakehouse Café, Boulder Wine Merchant, Peppercorn and Dedalus, as well as on Amazon.com. IrreverentTeas.com
To Andre Di Bonaventura, coffee is about connection.
“Sometimes there are some words or phrases that can’t be translated. But not for coffee! In Portuguese you can ask, ‘Vamos tomar uma cafezinho?’ In Italian you say, ‘Prendiamo un caffè,’ and in English, ‘Let’s get a coffee!’” he explains. “But we all know that when we say that, it’s way more than just a coffee. It means that you will be with someone, you will talk, sometimes share good news, sometimes not so good, sometimes just talking about the coffee that you are having, but at the end of the day, it means that you care.”
This is the philosophy that permeates every step of his Boulder-based roasting operation, Bona Coffee Roasters. From the producers in Ethiopia and Brazil, to fellow beverage makers and collaborators right here in Colorado like Boulder Spirits, Sanitas Brewing Co. and 4 Noses Brewing Company, Andre has made connection a big part of each cup of coffee.
Bona sources beans from coffee producers they know personally across the globe. Some, Andre even grew up with in Brazil. Then, through a rigorous blind testing process, the team selects which coffees will make it to their state-of-the-art roastery.
“We use the most innovative and sustainable technology available to highlight the coffee’s unique characteristics and develop the best taste for each bean,” Andre says. “We work tirelessly to craft dynamic and distinct roast profiles and blends that will knock your socks off."
To try it yourself, visit Bona’s coffee shop inside Sanitas Brewing Co., or keep your eyes peeled for the chance to try “They Call Her Joe,” a coffee blond stout created in collaboration with Sanitas Brewing Co. and 4 Noses Brewing Company. Andre reports they will also start offering classes again this summer, so specialty coffee lovers should join the waitlist for more info. BonaCoffeeRoasters.com