Health-conscious tea lover mixes custom blends in Zephyr Cove
May 1, 2017
When you walk into Jamah Dacus' tea-making studio in Zephyr Cove, the first thing that hits you is the aroma — a mix of fruity, floral and spicy scents coming from jars and bins of meticulously organized ingredients.
Dacus moved to Lake Tahoe's South Shore in 2015 and brought her online tea company BlendBee with her.
"I've been involved in health and nutritional herbs for over 20 years. I worked with a Chinese herbalist years ago and was fascinated with the different herbs and concoctions they would come up with for all the different ailments that we have," said Dacus.
"The only thing that I found was that they all tasted pretty nasty. It wasn't a palatable mix that they would create, so I decided to try my hand at creating blends that were really beneficial as well as taste good."
BlendBee has over 50 different mixtures of loose-leaf tea, herbs, spices and flowers that Dacus has dreamed up — and the number keeps growing.
"I just created these two," said Dacus, pointing to a blend called BeauTea Bomb and another named Lemon Biscottea. "They are both really good for spring and delicious if you cold brew them."
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BeauTea Bomb was crafted with over a dozen ingredients to support healthy hair, skin and nails, said Dacus, including young hyson green tea, toasted yerba mate, hibiscus flower, rose hips, lemon peel, and peppermint, to name a few.
The Cold & Flu Brew, Mountain Chai, Focus and Nightea Night are some of her most popular blends, but customers also have the opportunity to create their own.
"I think the custom aspect of the company is what really makes us unique," said Dacus.
Customers simply choose their blend of ingredients and a name for their tea, and Dacus mixes it up and creates a custom label with steeping instructions.
"This is a really popular gift," she added.
And businesses can get in on the action, too.
One of Dacus's favorite blends, Om Sweet Om, was originally created as a take-home gift for participants who just completed a two-week yoga retreat.
"It's designed specifically for muscle recovery. So it's also good for us out here with all of our outdoor activities, but it tastes amazing," said Dacus.
Dacus hopes to start collaborating with restaurants and hotels in Lake Tahoe to design custom tea blends for their customers.
In addition to teas, BlendBee's turmeric products — Turm It Up and On My Turms — are growing in popularity as the spice's anti-inflammatory benefits are becoming better known.
"Turm It Up is more fruit-based. It has hibiscus and lemon peel and other fresh flavors, so that's good for a turmeric tonic with lemon and ice," explained Dacus. "On My Turms is like a chai-turmeric, so that has cinnamon, carob and ginger. It's great for a turmeric latte."
For avid tea drinkers, BlendBee also has a Tea of the Month Club.
So what advice does Dacus have for making the ultimate cup of tea?
"The more room tea has to expand, the more flavor you're going to get from it and the more benefits you're going to get from it," said Dacus. So skip the cute tea steeper that looks like a hippo hanging on the side of your mug and opt to brew your tea freely in a teapot with a strainer or in a French press. A tea straw in your mug will allow your loose-leaf blend to steep while also helping to keep your teeth from staining.
Find out more about BlendBee at http://www.blendbee.com. Tribune readers have the opportunity to save 20 percent off the entire site by using the coupon code TahoeLocal.