11 Aug 2020
Feeling tired, sluggish, unable to sleep? Maybe it’s time for a tea change. Arjun Kumar, founder of XO Tea, explains how drinking herbal teas can improve your overall wellbeing.
WORDS: Jessica Zoiti
Arjun Kumar, founder of XO Tea, was raised to enjoy quality tea. Born into a family of tea producers (since 1935) he grew up playing on his family’s tea estates in the Malaysian highlands before moving to Western Australia as a teenager. Yet despite his life-long appreciation of tea, Arjun’s own interest in the industry was only realised five years ago.
“I was working in America (Texas) as an engineer, but decided to move back home in 2014 when my mother got sick,” he explains. “I started this company in 2016. Initially it was just for a bit of fun and to generate a bit of side income. I’ve spent so much time on tea estates, and of course, drinking tea, that at the time I thought maybe I could create something different, something direct from source.”
From the outset, Arjun planned to produce a creative, high quality range that presented a more modern image of drinking tea (hence the vibrant eye-catching packaging). He also intended for his range to be sustainable, ethical and wholly organic, a goal that was realised in 2017.
“When I started the business, I set out to offer products made from high quality ingredients, that benefit the body, taste good, are organic, sustainable and made locally (most of the XO Teas are made in Arjun’s warehouse in Vic Park).
“Basically, the company is built around three pillars: quality, sustainability and creativity. We try and create products that suit the needs of the market and provide either health benefit or premium, invigorating quality. We want to take (customers) on a journey of creativity, colour, quality and flavour.”
While the XO Tea range includes traditional teas, such as a traditional flowery organic white tea and an Earl Grey made from orange pekoe leaf sourced from Sri Lanka blended with bergamot oil from Seville, Arjun says the company has moved more into the organic herbal tea market. He loves blending, exploring the health benefits of various blends and gets excited when one of his new teas tastes great while improving the customer’s wellbeing.
“We are quite invested in herbal tea, so I spend a lot of time making herbal teas for different purposes. In the XO range we have a tea to aid all sorts of health complaints like digestion, blood pressure, bacterial infections and kidney problems, sleeping, digestion, inflammation and even mental clarity.
Take, for example, Arjun’s Golden Goddess blend, a turmeric-infused herbal power house initially created to help ease his father’s symptoms of arthritis (after drinking it for a month, his father reported less stiffness). Or the new Native Uplift blend, made with Australian native lemon myrtle and passionfruit, created as an immune booster.
“I’m always experimenting. I’m always making and trying out new ingredients. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been playing around with native Australian ingredients, for example.
“At the end of the day there’s no tea in the world that will guarantee it will fix a person’s problems – like anything, people react differently to different ingredients – but overall, we’ve found that a lot of our herbal teas have been well received because we do a huge amount of trialling with the product before we put it out into the market.”
While any serious health concerns should be discussed with your doctor, if you’re looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, you may find the following XO Teas can help.
WHAT TO DRINK WHEN YOU WANT TO…
Specifically designed to help clear the mind and relax the body, Daybed is an organic blend of lemongrass and ginger.
Or try Akacia – an earthy blend of rooibos, ginger, honey bush, cassia, and orange peel, designed to nurture the body and mind.
And California Current is a pure, organic refreshing peppermint tea (sourced from America) that helps the body absorb electrolytes, sharpen the nerves and clear the mind.
Boost your immune system
XO Tea’s first native Australian tea is called Native Uplift and is a slightly sweet tea created from lemon myrtle, pepper berry and passionfruit that’s great for the immune system, and is also beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and depression. Arjun says a regular customer finds the tea also helps soothes her reoccurring night cramps.
Golden Goddess is an anti-inflammatory blend that helps to improve circulation thanks to its antioxidant-packed blend of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and fennel.
Fight a bladder infection
“Popsicle is an excellent cordial replacement for both children and for adults,” says Arjun. “It’s got a sweet, sour, fruity, raspberry flavour and was designed for people who suffer with UTIs, kidney problems, bladder problems, and to a lesser degree, blood pressure issues.” Made from organic hibiscus, apple, lemon myrtle and raspberry, it also tastes great chilled on a summer’s day.
The Organic Hibiscus tea can also help lower blood pressure, fight off bacterial infections and help detox the bladder and kidneys. It’s made from high quality hibiscus sourced from Burkina Faso.
Calm an unsettled stomach
Ginger Root can assist with digestion, help combat nausea and boost the immune system to stave of cold and flu.
Julep is an organic liquorice digestive tea. “This one has been really popular because some of its ingredients give the perception of sweetness, even though it doesn’t have any added sugar. These days, everyone wants sweet things without the calories,” laughs Arjun.
Struggling to sleep? You’re not alone, which is why one of XO Tea’s best-selling product is Aurora. This sleep-inducing blend includes valerian root, hops, lavender, chamomile and cassia, among other ingredients.
Get more antioxidants
“In general, black teas, white teas and green teas have higher levels of antioxidants,” says Arjun. “They are also really, really beneficial for brain development, heart health, cardiovascular, blood pressure.
The Black Truffle stocks a selection of the most popular teas in the XO Tea range including Aurora, Shaded (organic green), The Empress (Earl Grey), Seven Sisters (chai), The Royal (English breakfast), Daybed and California Current (peppermint). Pop in and give them a try ($11 each).
Images courtesy XO Tea.