CHICAGO (CBS) — Lori Watts-Branch owns SenTEAmental Moods, a company “dedicated to blending tasteful tea blends with really fun names.”
SenTEAmental Moods offers handcrafted fine teas blended with locally sourced ingredients.
“I do a lot of farmers markets. And a couple years ago, we were having a really bad day — the weather was horrible, not many customers. And one of the farmers gave me a bushel of tomatoes and said, ‘Maybe you can make some tea.’ Everybody’s always teasing me, ‘Try to make some tea out of this.'”
So she did!
She came up with a green tea blend featuring ginger and tomatoes.
“It doesn’t taste tomato-y, but the tomatoes add a little sweetness to balance out the spicy ginger,” Watts-Branch said.
She imports the tea leaves and then dehydrates a lot of local fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to blend in. Their teas and tisanes are naturally vegan and gluten free, as well.
And Watts-Branch said she likes to experiment, adding, “Sometimes it’s a total disaster. Other times it’s a total success.”
A disaster ingredient? “The carrots. Still working on that.”
Her most popular blend is the Chicago Passion. “I started with the black and green blend because a lot of people like the benefits of green tea, but they don’t like the grassy taste.”
Watts-Branch started SenTEAmental Moods 10 years ago. Their products are available for purchase as several retailers throughout Illinois such as Give Me Some Sugah Bakery, Local Goods Chicago and Southport Grocery & Cafe.
“Yeah, I think it’s just my nature. It’s a good fit for me. I think it’s something about the preparation and the soothing nature.”