'FOLLOW THE LEADER' FEATURE
Product: Premium loose-leaf teas, tisanes, single-serve tea sachets & tea accouterments
Founders: Tomislav Podreka & Linda Villano
Key Individuals: Chris Villano & Sonam Curreri & Linda Villano
Launch date: July 1995
Location: 69-73 Plandome Road, Manhasset, New York 11030
International: SerendipiTea-Japan, Osaka
Phone/Fax: 888-TEA-LIFE (1-888-832-5433) ~ Fax: 516-365-7733
SerendipiTea was founded in 1995, on a set of principles that have guided the company for more than twenty years. These include the import and manufacturing of the highest quality loose leaf teas and botanicals; a commitment to environmentally and socially responsible practices, from organic and biodynamic products, to recycled, sustainable and biodegradable packaging; educating the trade and public and raising respect and awareness of tea to the level it enjoys in other countries.
The name SerendipiTea comes from the word “serendipity,” meaning an inadvertent, but felicitous discovery. It is an appropriate name for a company that developed serendipitously. Founded by Tomislav Podreka and Linda Villano in their fifth floor, walk-up apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the company now provides tea to an ever growing number of prestigious national and international clients.
Tomislav’s knowledge of tea was matched by Linda’s knowledge of, and family connections in, the food industry, and their first clients were restaurants to which they could sell in bulk, avoiding the expense of retail packaging. At the time, few chefs or restaurateurs knew much about tea and gave little thought to what they served. Almost all relied on teabags for convenience. SerendipiTea, however, was dedicated to demonstrating that loose leaves make an immeasurably better cup of tea. Tomislav started teaching in culinary schools in order to reach the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs and to this day, students from his classes call SerendipiTea when developing their tea menus.
SerendipiTea grew quickly. By 1997, they had added a retail line, outgrown the apartment and moved to Southwestern Connecticut for more space. Only three years later, the delivery load made a return to New York necessary, and they moved into a storefront/warehouse in Long Island City. By 2006, that space had been expanded and was soon no longer able to contain the business. SerendipiTea built a new home in Manhasset, LI that accommodates their administrative and production facilities (certified Organic by QAI and certified Kosher by Star-K), and a retail space/showroom.
Now headed by Christopher, Linda and Sonam, and offering nearly three hundred products, SerendipiTea remains committed to its original principles as it continues to thrive in its third decade. Seventy percent of the business remains bulk sales, with the remainder divided between retail and direct sales via their website.
Please see link above for names, photos, descriptions of awards & corresponding tea/tisane.
REMEMBER ROSEMARY was awarded a SILVER medal in the Global Tea Championships Spring Hot Loose Leaf Blended Green Category (2018).
WHITE GINGERED APRICOT was awarded a SILVER medal in the Global Tea Championships Spring Hot Loose Leaf Flavored White Category (2018).
MANDELA MASALA was awarded BRONZE in the Global Tea Championships Spring Hot Loose Leaf Blended Rooibos Category (2018).
COCONUTTY NILSSON was awarded a SILVER medal in the World Tea Championships Flavored Green Category under Small Batch Iced (2018).
GINGER was awarded BRONZE in the World Tea Championships Herbal Category under Single Serve Hot (2018).
JASMINE GREEN was awarded JUDGES CHOICE World Tea Championships (2018).
LILI'UOKALANI was awarded SILVER in the World Tea Championships Flavored Black Category under Small Batch Iced (2018).
PuERH was awarded SILVER in the World Tea Championships PuErh/Dark Tea Category under Single Serve Hot (2018).
RED OZ was awarded a GOLD medal in the World Tea Championships Blended Rooibos Category under Small Batch Iced Category (2018).
WHITE PEACH was awarded SILVER in the World Tea Championships White Flavored Category under Single Serve Hot (2018).
COCOA LOCO NUT was awarded a SILVER medal in the World Tea Championships Flavored Rooibos Category (2017).
GOLDEN MILK MIX was awarded JUDGES CHOICE in the World Tea Championships Blended Herbal Category (2017).
BERRY BLUEBERRY won THIRD Place in the North American Tea Championships in the Flavored Fruit Blend category (2016).
HARMONY was awarded FIRST Place in the North American Tea Championships in the Flavored Herbal Blends category (2016).
A FRUIT MEDLEY was awarded THIRD Place in the North American Tea Championships Flavored Fruit Blend Category (2015).
CHARLIE CHAN CHA was awarded THIRD Place in the North American Tea Championships Blended Green Tea Category (2015).
SSSPICY was awarded SECOND Place in the North American Tea Championships Unflavored Herbal Blend Category (2015).
DA HONG PAO was awarded THIRD Place in the North American Tea Championships in the Dark Oolong category (2014).
KOH SAMET SUN was awarded Third Place in the North American Tea Championship in the Unflavored Herbal Blends category (2014).
PASSION & ENVY was awarded Third Place in the North American Tea Championships Green Tea Blended/Flavored Category (2014).
STRICTLY STRAWBERRY was awarded Third Place in the North American Tea Championship in the Flavored Fruit Blends category (2014).
SerendipiTea.com was awarded World Tea Awards FINALIST for Best Tea Retail Website (2014).
FELLINI’s FOLLY was awarded Third Place in the North American Tea Championship in the Unflavored Herbal Blends category (2013).
REALLY GOETHE was awarded Third Place in the North American Tea Championships Blended Green Tea category (2013).
CHA CHA CHAI was awarded the honor of BEST NEW TEA at Specialty Coffee Association of America/SCAA (2005).
FIJI was awarded FIRST Place at Take Me 2 Tea in the Iced Tea Shake-Off (2004).
FIJI was an NASFT (Specialty Foods Association/SFA) Product Awards Competition Finalist in the Outstanding Beverage Category (2004). *see note
Exhibitor Awards 3rd Place: Best sustainable practices/product in TEA category at Specialty Coffee Association of America/SCAA (2000).
REVE D’AMOUR was an NASFT (Specialty Foods Association/SFA) Product Awards Competition Finalist in the Outstanding Beverage Category (1999). *see note
SerendipiTea Retail Packaging was an NASFT (Specialty Foods Association/SFA) Product Awards Competition Finalist in the Outstanding Packaging and Design Category (1998). *see note
*The National Association for Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) changed its name to Specialty Food Association (SFA) in 2013.
Fancy Food Magazine Packaging Awards 2nd Place: English Breakfast & Green Tea Soap (1997)
Fancy Food Magazine Packaging Awards 3rd Place: Tea Infuser (1997)
Please see link for Organization names, descriptions & links to each respective websites along with corresponding tea/tisane. https://www.serendipitea.com/Non-Profit.html
In addition to those listed below, SerendipiTea participates in many select fund raising events for local and national causes and makes many in-kind contributions to organizations that help raise awareness about Food Insecurity, Environmental Issues (Grassroots Environmental Education/ www.grassrootsinfo.org), and Domestic Violence (The Safe Center LI/ www.tscli.org) to name a few.
CITY HARVEST (www.cityharvest.org)
Serving New York City for more than 30 years, City Harvest is the world's first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women and children. This year, City Harvest will collect 46 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 400 community food programs throughout New York City using a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than 1 million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.
ISLAND HARVEST (www.islandharvest.org)
SerendipiTea donates 20% of all sales of Secret Garden to the organization.
Island Harvest is Long Island’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing food and non-food items to over 300,000 Long Islanders living with food insecurity. Their mission is to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island through efficient food and product purchase, donation collection, and distribution systems; enhanced hunger awareness and nutrition education programs, job training, targeted services for specific populations, and outreach and advocacy activities and initiatives.
SerendipiTea contributes 20% of all Mandela Masala sales to the organization. The dominant ingredients in this blend, Rooibos & Honeybush, are indigenous to S. Africa, a country in a continent where WaterAid has a meaningful presence. Tea, after all, is simply Leaf & Water.
WaterAid is the #1 ranked international non-profit dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water, toilets and hygiene. WaterAid works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific region. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 21 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 19 million people with toilets and sanitation.
National Peace Corps Association (www.peacecorpsconnect.org)
The National Peace Corps Association is a nonprofit organization encompassing a network of over 50,000 individuals and more than 140 member groups. The NPCA and its member groups produce global education programs and advocacy campaigns, and provide community, national and international services. It is governed by a board of directors, and is managed by a professional staff. It is separate from the United States Peace Corps, which is a federal agency. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Peace Corps (March 2011), SerendipiTea created two special edition blends in conjunction with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). Each blend contains 5 ingredients from 5 countries served by Peace Corps Volunteers over the past 5 decades. The blends celebrate the unified achievements of these selfless men & women & the organization itself. 20% of all the sales of these blends will be donated to the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). Please consider giving the gift of PEACE & HARMONY.