A passion for creation and a love of liquids was the perfect recipe for this pair of entrepreneurial tea lovers. Trips to Japan and an interest in good quality wine, coffee and spirits sparked the inception of Perfect South – a unique tea company based in Newtown. Like the perfect cup of tea, Perfect South began by brewing and stirring small ideas, and with hard work, energy and optimism, has developed them into a big pot of success.
How did you come up with the idea? What made you decide to take the leap?
I love creation, ideas and business and was keen to bring a brand to life after working with lots of different brands over the years. Green tea was the idea that kept me up at night and just would not leave me alone! It also combined my passions and professional experience perfectly so I knew it was the one.
How long have you been operating and how has it all progressed from conception?
My partner Paul and I launched Perfect South online in May 2012. Things have been going very well. At the moment we’re building up our café and restaurant partners and working on some new teas and brand partnerships for 2014. Since launching I also became a certified tea master.
Where/how did your love of green tea begin?
I wasn’t always into tea. I call myself a lover of liquids though – I’m into good coffee, wine and spirits too so tea was a natural progression. Trips to Japan peaked my interest in the ritual and philosophy behind drinking tea. And what also kicked things off was when I developed food intolerances. Green tea was recommended to me so I started exploring different styles and brands and then I really got into it. Now I couldn’t live without it.
For those wanting to try and buy your tea, which would you recommend and what is your favourite?
Oooh good question. It depends on what flavours appeal and often your mood. If you like grassy or vegetal flavours I’d go for Shincha, Sencha or Matcha Genmaicha. They are crisp and refreshing. If you like roasted, nutty or popcorn flavours I’d go with Genmaicha or Houjicha. They are savoury and comforting and go well with food.
I love all of our teas equally! At this very moment though I’m into Houjicha. It’s such a dark horse. To be honest, originally I thought our other teas had more going for them. But now I think Houjicha is amazing. It’s beautiful hot or cold and is delicious as an iced tea with some mint, lime and berries or a touch of vanilla.
Any tips for brewing a good pot of tea?
The main thing to remember with green tea is not to pour boiling water on the tea leaves because you’ll burn them and the tea will probably taste bitter. Also, you’ll dull all the delicate flavours and aromas in the tea. Let the water cool off first then steep the leaves for no more than three minutes.
Any advice for people wanting to start their own business?
You’re going to need tenacity, optimism, courage and a whole lot of energy because you won’t ever work harder. One day you’ll feel like you’re killing it and it’s awesome and the next day you’ll feel like things suck. What really helps is finding a mentor. We have a business mentor and a tea industry mentor. They give us advice and guidance when we need to make decisions and I can’t tell you how amazing they are.
What do you love about your local community?
It’s colourful! We live in Newtown, Sydney and the diversity of the place is wonderful. It’s a melting pot of people from all walks of life and there’s always something going on. Every week I come home and say, “You’ll never guess what I saw up the road.”