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NORD-T for Volvo



Everything feels better after a cuppa. As soon as the first sip of hot tea passes your lips, it’s like your energy levels start to recharge. Now, Nord-T are redefining the drink in a uniquely Nordic style – ditching false flavours in favour of the tastes of the forest and countryside. We met its founders to find out more about blends, forests, and why tea helps soothe the soul.

Mirka Olin has always been a tea person. Among her friends, she’s known for carrying her own tea bags around, because the brews served in coffee shops and restaurants is of such bad quality, she can’t drink it. One day, she met her childhood friend Nina Rantala for breakfast. Neither expected, that day, to end up sharing an epiphany and starting a revolution.

“I was served a poor cup of tea – and this started a real ramble that lasted for more than an hour about why restaurants don’t know how to brew simple cup of tea, even though they have espresso machines costing € 10,000 and can make perfect cappuccinos, espressos and lattes.

“Nina got excited about my passion for tea and decided to get in touch a few days later, saying that we should change how things are done. We met, and got excited by all the possibilities – so we started planning for a Nordic tea revolution.”

After six months of planning and research, a business was starting to take shape. Both loved tea for its taste as well as its cultural significance. “Mirka has been a tea drinker for as long as she remembers,” Nina explains. “She remembers the countless times her grandmother brewed a pot of tea in the evening, served with lots of milk and sugar, and how everybody gathered together for tea and cucumber sandwiches.” Nina herself spent time living in China – “where the coffee was bad and tea was the only option” – and India, during which time she developed a taste for litres of chai. Before long, they’d turned their enthusiasm into a business.

“At first, we wanted to start importing good quality loose leaf teas to the Nordics, but were continuously disappointed with the fact that almost 99 % of all tea blends from several manufacturers were infused with some type of flavourings,” says Nina. “And flavourings, natural or artificial, are still manufactured additives. In our opinion, flavourings can never compensate for the real deal. Strawberry flavouring can never be the same as a real strawberry. ”

Nina and Mirka had the bright idea to start putting together their own blends – guided by combinations of flavours, and inspired by the wealth of natural ingredients around them in Finland. As Mirka explains: “We focused on things we could gather by ourselves; like nettles, birch leaves, different wild flowers, then found tea leaves that would go well together with our Nordic wild herbs.”

You can tell there’s something special about Nord-T the moment you break the seal on the box, whether it’s the smell of the chunks of rhubarb and strawberry in the Cabin Fever blend, or the sight of the spruce tips and blueberries nestled among the leaves in the Barefoot Biking carton. They’re a treat for the senses. And Mirka and Nina are confident that their teas will also provide a moment of clarity for the mind as well as just tasting good.

“Drinking cup of tea has a mental break effect on you,” says Mirka. “It somehow just clears up cluttered minds, with the inexplicable effect of making you feel like things are going to be OK. Tea gives you a general good feeling and mood boost. Why? Is it a placebo effect? We don’t really know, we just know it works.”

Nina adds: “Tea is the only plant that contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes calm and relaxation. And it works in synergy with the caffeine, also found naturally in tea leaves, to induce a state of mindful alertness. Plus, caffeine from tea is thought to absorb more slowly in the body than caffeine from coffee. This gentle release promotes a longer period of alertness without a jittery rush at the start or crash at the end.”

Although they’re proud of its pick-me-up effects, Mirka and Nina also recommend that you get the ritual right when you pour a cup of Nord-T – by pulling on a pair of woollen socks that someone you know has knitted. In taking a moment to savour it, you’re guaranteed the best of both worlds: as Mirka and Nina say themselves, a “perfect combo of energy and relaxation for our oh-so-hectic-lives.”

Flavourings can never compensate for the real deal. Strawberry flavouring can never be the same as a real strawberry. -Nina Rantala
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