Eshai’s founders come from vastly different backgrounds, creating a union of art and science that’s fused by a shared love of tea.
A pair of tea-loving trekkers
Eshai creators and founders, Ronia Elmaarraoui and Gabriel Muller, live in the Byron Bay hinterland near Mullumbimby.
Ronia is Australian-Lebanese and grew up with Lebanese cinnamon tea served in copious amounts by her mother to all visitors to their Melbourne home.
Living in a multicultural part of Melbourne meant Ronia was always invited to drink tea at friends' houses and was exposed to many Eastern and Middle Eastern flavours and the idea of tea as part of social life and hospitality.
Gabriel, who has German heritage, was also exposed to cultural teas at quite an early age and developed his own tea addiction following extensive travel (over 30 countries by age 20) including 10 trips to India!
But it wasn't until their travels together, especially to Morocco, that they both gained a true appreciation of the cultural significance and social importance of tea.
With their combined skills, professional experience, and love and passion for tea, the pair set-out to build Eshai from grass roots. Ronia, who completed a 4-year Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) degree, was able to apply a scientific approach to formulating tea recipes and capturing their authentic tastes. Her inventive approach also enables her to blend science with tradition in the creation of new tea styles and flavours. Gabriel, who came from a background of graphic and web design, was able to draw from his skills, to create the beautiful designs of Eshai.
Tea can truly change your life
This is their tea story...
"We took a family trip through Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe and fell in love with the cultural teas we discovered in these regions. The colours, the sights and smells – all so exotic and different and yet in every country and wherever we went the first thing we were offered was a beautiful cup of tea.
We were blown away by the way each country prepared its own delicious and unique brew, and the way the tea was served – with such grace and pride. Teal lovers all over the world seem to share this beautiful quality of being happy to open their hearts and their homes to travellers in need of refreshment. You were made to feel like a real guest of honour, lavished with genuine kindness and hospitality, treated as one of the family. Drinking tea became an incredible cultural experience for us, and a real highlight of our travels.
When we returned to our home in Australia, we found ourselves yearning for the exotic flavours and experiences of the teas we'd tasted abroad and saw an opportunity to bring something truly different to the Australian market.
We've been hand-blending our own teas ever since, gathering traditional recipes, sourcing authentic ingredients, designing beautiful packages, and spending endless hours with friends and family serving and drinking … you guessed it, tea! When we take a break from hand-blending in our tea lab, we love sourcing vintage teas and other speciality blends made by some of the world's most talented artisans. After a busy 5 years running our Eshai stall in the Byron Shire monthly markets and festivals, we have evolved into the online world. This new chapter in the Eshai story will allow us to put our energy into innovative ways to get our handcrafted teas into happy bellies the world over.
It has been such a delightful journey for us (mixed in with lots of hard work, of course) to be recreating all those beautiful tasting teas we were invited to share with strangers during our travels.
Lastly, we invite you to share the incredible magic of taking the time to brew your tea. When you discover that brewing is not an inconvenience, but an art … it can change your life (as it changed ours)."
Ronia, Gabriel and family