This year, Sips by is highlighting some of the over 150 tea brands we work with from around the world. We want to help you get to know the people who make your tea and their stories. This month, we talked to Caroline MacDougall, founder of Teeccino. Teeccino has been a Sips by partner since May 2018. Members love their Chocolate Raspberry, Maca Chocolate, and Maya Chai teas, and their Snickerdoodle tea is a recent favorite.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Subscribers receive four teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more here.
Teeccino is a family-run company. Here is founder, Caroline MacDougall, with her son, Galen MacDougall.
When was your company founded and where are you located?
Teeccino was founded in Santa Barbara, California in 1995, and today we have 26 employees.
Please tell us about your company.
Teeccino is a delicious blend of organic herbs like chicory, carob, dandelion or barley plus fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew like coffee or steep like tea. All our products contain the highest quality ingredients without any artificial flavors, preservatives, chemicals or stimulants like caffeine and sugar. A cup of Teeccino brims with many health benefits including natural energy from nutrients, heart-healthy potassium and prebiotic inulin. If you’re new to Teeccino, we recommend our samplers that provide a variety of flavors to enjoy while discovering your favorites.
What inspired you to start your business?
One morning in 1993, award-winning tea designer, Caroline MacDougall, awoke from a dream with a compelling vision to create a bold, robust brew from roasted herbs. She even dreamed the name of it would be Teeccino. Propelled by her own sensitivity to caffeine and acidity, Caroline designed Teeccino to satisfy both coffee and tea drinkers alike with its rich, full body and its many health benefits. Now years later, Teeccino is the #1 brand of coffee alternatives and roasted herbal teas with over 24 organic and gluten-free flavors. Often people ask, is it coffee or is it tea? Our answer is simple ~ it’s Teeccino!
How are your teas grown, harvested, sourced and (if applicable) blended? How involved are you in each step of the process?
Very involved. We source directly from small holder farmers from around the world. We produce our products ourselves rather than using a co-manufacturer. For our complete sourcing story, please visit: https://teeccino.com/our-commitment/our-sourcing/.
What makes your company different from other tea companies?
Teeccino stands out amongst other tea companies primarily because of our innovative blends and unique, full-bodied flavor that many use as an alternative to coffee.
Does your company have any social initiatives?
Teeccino donates a percentage of sales to support educational and nutritional programs that benefit disadvantaged women and children in Central America and that help preserve rainforests. Learn more here.
Teeccino also works to provide economic opportunities in regions where income is scarce. We began developing new sources for organic chicory in India and wild-crafted ramon seeds in Guatemala from small scale family farmers and rainforest villagers in 2004. Teeccino specializes in new trade which provides more ways to relieve poverty and raise the quality of life for rural communities in developing nations. Fair trade is very important for commodity ingredients where exploitation is common, however doesn’t apply to Teeccino due to our unique ingredients. Nonetheless, we follow fair trade principles while creating new trade opportunities. Learn more here.
What is your relationship to tea? When and how did you become a tea drinker?
In the early 1970’s, Caroline began her journey studying, growing, importing, blending and selling herbs. As she describes, “Herbs have taken me all over the world, introducing me to other cultures, luring me into tropical forests, wilderness areas and remote villages. Herbs have always been my vehicle for interesting encounters with the world at large, both human and plant!”
Caroline began her career developing worldwide suppliers and importing herbs for Celestial Seasonings. In Europe, she furthered her education in herbal lore by apprenticing with a world-renowned herbalist, Juilette de Bairacli Levy. Caroline developed several European herbal product lines and brought many ideas back to the United States in the early ‘80’s.
If you could only drink one type of tea for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
The one type of tea that I would drink for the rest of my life is the same that I drink now - herbal tea! You can never get bored drinking herbal tea as the flavor variations are endless. You can always find an herbal tea to match any wellness health benefit you’re in need of. As your body changes, you won’t have trouble drinking herbal teas as you may have with caffeinated teas. There is so much discovery and new taste experiences provided by herbal tea, it definitely gets my vote!
Do you have any insider tips for brewing the best cup of tea?
The best cup of herbal tea is brewed with freshly boiled, filtered water that has just stopped bubbling. "Loose leaf” herbal teas where the herbs are able to freely float in the water make the most flavorful brews. Steep as long as you like to get the strength of brew you prefer. Strain with a fine mesh strainer to remove the herbs. If using a tea bag, you don’t actually need to remove it from your tea cup as herbal tea never turns acidic or gets too caffeinated. The longer you steep, the more wellness benefits are imparted to your cup.
Learn more about Teeccino:
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.