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Healthy Beverage Habits with Paula Hershman of Cleveland’s Storehouse Tea

January 5, 2021

A new year calls for a better beverage routine, and Paula Hershman, owner of Storehouse Tea, tells us why including more tea in our drink diets is a healthy and rewarding option.  Previously owning a graphic design business, Paula’s personal health journey lead her to start Storehouse Tea. “I was having issues with caffeine, especially combined with the acidity of coffee, so my doctor advised me to either cut out or seriously refrain from drinking coffee, which I was admittedly addicted to. I was introduced to high quality organic tea by a friend battling cancer and not only loved the taste and process of drinking it, but it also really made me feel better. I was transitioning out of the graphic design business and since I was becoming obsessed with tea, I decided to investigate making a business out of it,” Paula says.

A Storehouse of Health Benefits

Paula explains that drinking tea is a healthy habit for many reasons. “Organic loose-leaf tea has a ‘storehouse’ of health benefits packed in their leaves known to boost the immune system, which helps to prevent and fight illness and disease.” She describes that it’s “full of vitamins, minerals and other great properties,” helping to “reduce plaque in your arteries, promote bone and teeth health,” and burn fat by increasing your metabolism. She says another powerful benefit in tea is L-Theanine, “which is an amino acid known to alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and reduce stress.” Organic teas are also known to help block cancer and help fight heart disease. With all those perks, it’s no wonder Paula had more consistent energy, and just felt healthier overall, when she started continuously drinking tea. 

Transforming Communities

To further enhance its business model, Storehouse Tea aims to not only to make “the best teas available with certified Organic and Fair-Trade teas and ingredients sourced from an ethical supply chain,” as their mission statement declares, but to also employ refugees and recent immigrants. Running the business with her husband, Dan, Paula states, “We don’t hire people to make our teas, we make delicious teas to hire people. We believe tea is the vehicle to heal, connect and transform communities.” When Paula and Dan became aware of the burgeoning refugee population in Cleveland, they moved their business from the suburbs to the Hildebrant Building in the Clark-Fulton area, which borders a highly Hispanic area of Cleveland called ‘La Villa Hispania.’ Paula reveals, “We knew that many refugee groups were nearby, [it was] on public transportation routes and a large international school was within walking distance, so it was the perfect location to hire students from the school and people from the neighborhood that needed work. We have had a great team of dedicated workers from all over the world helping us package and produce teas from around the world - it is a beautiful full circle.”

An Ethical Supply Chain

Storehouse Tea’s purpose is to contribute to “making a better world in the macro, [as well as] a better world in the micro.” They source from organic growers and, wherever available, Fair Trade sustainable farmers, so they “know the people doing the hard labor of growing and picking the tea leaves [are] in an environmentally safe environment” and are “paid more than the prevailing wage, so they can afford to have schools, medical care and clean water - all things we take for granted, but are not easily obtained in remote, rural tea garden and tea plantation areas of the world,” Paula illustrates. In addition, their packaging and inner foil liner are biodegradable, as well as practical and stylish.

Tea Varietals & Blends

Over the past 13 years Storehouse Tea has evolved from selling tea out of the couple’s church to selling to commercial clients from over 20+ states. They also now offer 60+ tea varieties and blends. “I can’t seem to stop myself from creating new blends and offerings,” Paula affirms. “Our customers love variety and we also like to keep up with the trends by promoting healthy, but tasty teas.” She says lots of trial and error goes into the process, and lots of physical labor since they  “hand blend and hand pack every loose leaf tea box, and blend the tea for the tea sachets, which then gets shipped to the co-packer to make the tea sachets.” The good thing is, they don’t plan to slow down anytime soon. Short term goals include continuing to expand their market share in Ohio and contiguous states, and long term are to expand to other parts of the country in a concerted way.

When asked about her favorite tea, Paula has lots of candidates. “It’s like asking me which one is my favorite child! I like every tea we offer and so do our enthusiastic, loyal customers and clients, but I do have my favorites in every category. [For example,] in the greens, I like the Citron Jasmine; in black teas I like the Chai and Earl Grey. If you asked my husband, Dan, he would come up with some of the same, but also many different choices - it really is a personal preference,” she raves. 

 

Written by Marianna Marchenko