Pictured: Fred Bollaci and Lisa Feistel
Get Loose Tea Co., owned by Lisa Feistel and Doreen Birdsell, featuring two distinct and excellent lines of high quality loose leaf teas, Where Elephants Roam, their signature top-of-the-line proprietary organic line, and Triangle Tea Life, featuring high quality responsibly sourced teas from the best sources in the world is set to open on Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota, bringing a level of quality, passion, and dedication to customers’ knowledge and enjoyment of fine tea.
Lisa’s “healing journey” with tea began in 2007. “I was struggling with low energy, digestive disorders, headaches, allergies, and an overall sense of not feeling well,” Lisa said. “I had always considered myself to be a healthy person. I had a clean diet, I exercised regularly, and didn’t smoke or drink.” At the time, Lisa was a newcomer to Sarasota, originally from Connecticut. “I began searching the web for answers and happened upon an article by Andrew Weil, M.D., on the benefits of green tea.” Like many people, she decided to buy some tea and give it a try. She had no idea the difference the quality of the tea would make in achieving the desired health benefits.
Lisa’s first week she spent experimenting with green tea she found barely digestible. At a farmer’s market she had the incredible opportunity of meeting a 30-year tea industry expert (who teaches at the New York Tea Institute) who would mentor and guide her on her journey, and I am fortunate now to have access to her as my “tea expert!” Lisa would learn as I would with food, wine, and everything, it is all about quality. Start with the best ingredients for the best results.
The activity of taking time out to steep a pot of tea (as opposed to a cup) is a way to “restore a rhythm of balance in an over-stimulated world.”Because someone knowledgeable took the time to share some of her tea knowledge, Lisa’s relationship with tea and her entire life changed. She started enjoying quality loose leaf teas. The daily preparation became a ritual, and tea-time turned into a form of meditation as Lisa embraced her new “tea life.”
As time went on, Lisa wanted to explore more tea and share it with everyone she knew. Soon, she began to feeI much better than before drinking tea. Some of her problem symptoms began to ease up and she didn’t feel the buzz she felt from having too much coffee. Experiencing an “amazing transformation,” Tea became an important social activity as Lisa began inviting friends and family over for tea almost daily, and was “so moved by how much we enjoyed just drinking tea together.” Amazed by the enjoyment and health benefits she was experiencing, Lisa was ready to make tea her new career! She wanted to inspire others to improve their lives starting with a single cup of tea!
Just like massage therapy, yoga, meditation, and spa treatments offer a refuge and way to restore and nourish our mind, body, and spirits, while giving us a much-needed respite from our hectic lives. What makes tea even better is without any sweeteners, it is practically zero calories, and is much more conducive to “all-day” drinking than coffee, without the instant caffeine buzz, crashes, or withdrawal many people experience with coffee. Also, tea is not acidic or harsh on your stomach. Lisa’s favorite condiment to add to her tea is a touch of agave nectar, keeping things natural.
Lisa’s background was in hospitality, owning and operating a successful Bed & Breakfast in Provincetown, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) for years, before getting into tea. Like me, her focus has always been on “relationships with people,” getting to know her guests and deliver a consistently excellent experience, which results in repeat and referral business. While her teas have met tremendous success online and in current retail outlets, the upcoming Get Loose store will be a valuable asset to Sarasota’s increasingly sophisticated audience of health-conscious residents and visitors, who will now have access to unparalleled tea products and an incredible resource to guide them on their journey with tea!
Lisa’s journey with tea also coincided with her journey to emotionally heal as she grieved the loss of her mom. One day, while surfing the web, Lisa, a lifelong animal lover came across information about elephant poaching as part of the ivory trade, and the resulting devastating effects on orphaned elephants, whose mothers are killed for their tusks. One story stood out about Moses, an infant elephant that was expected to die brokenhearted from losing his mother at such a young and age. She realized these elephants inhabited some of the top tea regions in the world, and immediately felt her call to action!
Lisa sourced her own tea product lines from the best sources. Her Triangle line’s slogan is “The Tea that Changes Lives” by being: 1. Good for you, 2. helping small farmers, 3. Helping the elephants by buying the tea. Tea became a way for Lisa to change not only her life, but the lives of others she would introduce tea to, teaching others to “practice tea as an art” while saving the lives of countless elephants! “Tea is not just a noun, it is a verb!,” Lisa added. “It will transform you!”
The Where Elephants Roam line has contributed to the adoption and saving of many elephants by donating 10% of her proceeds from this line to the cause. The line features the “very best tea money can buy” with 12 distinct teas to choose from. Helping orphaned elephants would help give Lisa closure and a sense of oneness with her own mom and a sense of doing something good for the planet.
Get Loose is committed to organizations, such as Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, and BLES, (Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary) in Thailand. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s mission is to stop the killing of elephants for ivory trade, and to help their orphans who have been abandoned and will perish if not rescued. BLES has been devoted to creating a safe haven for rescued and retired working elephants.
Some of the elephants that have been adopted through the efforts of Lisa and Where Elephants Roam:
She was found next to her dead mother in the company of the rest of her herd – As the days have passed little Roi has settled in completely and is now extremely attached to her Keepers, familiar with the routine and is playing once more and she appears to be genuinely happy.
It is suspected that the calf and her mother might have strayed into the new fenced area and the mother somehow lost the calf on exiting the enclosure and was unable to find her way back in to retrieve her baby. Another possibility is that the calf is an ivory-orphan, as eight elephants were brutally poached near Ndara recently.
She was spotted by Lissa Ruben, who orchestrated her rescue – hence this elephant’s name, “Lissa”. At the time she was pathetically emaciated, and had a back leg that had obviously been broken in infancy.
Get Loose refers to “loose tea” (as opposed to bagged tea)– which is a far superior product. Get Loose also refers to Lisa’s overall philosophy and enjoyment of tea she wants to share with her customers–to get used to having “tea parties” or taking the time to “be in a relationship with tea,” by steeping the leaves, watching them unfurl, and sipping and enjoying alone or with friends to relax and experience the “clear calm” sense of euphoria from this natural mood elevator.
Also, like with enjoying cocktails, there are a number of “flavor infused” varieties which combine other flavors, such as Goji with Green Tea (which tastes like lemongrass, Goji Berries, and Blueberies), similar in context to a person mixing vodka with cranberry juice to give a sweeter, softer flavor. Another delicious varietal is their “Peaches & Cream,” which is White Tea infused with dry peaches, and is the least processed of all teas. Get Loose is all about taking tea, which can in fact be quite serious (like wine and mixology), and loosening up and having fun exploring it!
Other favorite products include Rooibos from South Africa, which is a non-caffeinated, non-member of the tea family which is steeped and enjoyed as one would tea. Another is Yerbamate’ from South America, an excellent source of antioxidants. Mate’ is a favorite among athletes and fitness buffs, as it is a source of energy and makes you feel great, with no withdrawal or decline in energy after the effects wear off, no “crash” like you get with caffeinated drinks.
Lisa wants to “help people find teas to match their lifestyle.” It’s all about the quality, and proper preparation. Don’t fret: Lisa will show you how!
See you in Sarasota, and be sure to check out Get Loose Tea! Please tell Lisa and Doreen I sent you, and in the meantime (or if you don’t live in Sarasota), you can buy these amazing teas online!