THE OCHA TEA DIFFERENCE
The name Ocha Tea comes from the Japanese word Ocha - which means tea. Although "cha" means "tea," it is usually called "o-cha." "O" is a prefix of respect. Our teas start from the Camellia bush. This plant is Camellia synesis, better known as the tea plant. The word tea comes from the Chinese Amoy dialect for the word t'e. Tea is better known in China and Japan as ch'a from the Cantonese dialect.
Ocha Tea supplies loose black, green and herbal teas. In 2018, we broadened our focus to include bagged teas and began to sell a full line of traditional, specialty blend, and herbal teas directly to fine stores and through our website to consumers.
Today, we are headquartered in Detroit, MI and we locally distribute to markets and sale directly at farmer markets in the metropolitan Detroit area. Our goal is to become one of the largest specialty tea companies in the United States, with products available through food service, grocery stores, tea and coffee shops, club stores, mass merchandisers, natural foods stores, mail order and online. We also plan to be available in Canada, and several other countries.
A BUSINESS BREWED BY LOVE
Ocha Tea Etc. LLC was founded in Detroit in 2006 by Sheila Crooks and has been run by Sheila and her daughter, Alicia Crooks ever since. Sheila has been a flight attendant for the airline industry for over 40 years. It is with this opportunity of travel, Sheila has traveled all over the world and visited countries including France, Italy, Spain, Britain, Korea, China, Japan to name a few. Sheila has always had a love for fine cuisine and wonderful foods and a passion for tea. It is this passion for the varieties of loose leaf teas led to starting Ocha Tea Etc. LLC and marketing loose leaf teas— black, green and herbal teas. As she frequently traveled to Japan that broadened her interest in tea and decided to blend the Japan style of tea with the American style.
Sheila's personal experience in Tea comes from her consistent travel to Japan. In Japan she visits a Japanese restaurant called “Two for Tea”. She would always visit and get Japanese Green tea. Tea at the time did not come with sugar, it was not an option. The tea was an acquired taste. After several visits, she didn’t know how to request the sugar for the tea, but the presentation was awesome. The tea was presented to her like no other tea. It had a small 3-minute timer and when it was up, the humble waitress began to pour to create a welcoming experience.
Sheila has completed Level I and Level II of the Specialty Tea Institute which certifies her to be a Tea Specialist. She also attended the Elmwood Inn Fine Teas in Perryville, Kentucky under the leadership of Bruce Richardson. She participated in the World Tea Expo which is the largest educational program of the business of Tea that furthered her knowledge of Tea in Atlanta, GA. With these accreditations Sheila is widely known as the “Tea Lady”