To a Tea

Hale Tea Co. relaunches — but remains steeped in tradition

Reinventing a 148-year-old tea company is no small feat, especially in a town brewing with coffee hotspots. But when Megan Miller stepped in as the new owner of Hale Tea Co. to relaunch the brand in 2019, her objective was clear: “We don’t want tea to be viewed as just a grandmother’s drink,” she says.

With roots dating back to 1872 London, Hale Tea Co. eventually relocated to Savannah in 1989.

And while the tea itself has stayed the same — it’s sourced globally, from China to Germany to Japan, and includes a diverse inventory ranging from classic Earl Grey to specialty teas — Miller felt its packaging needed an upgrade.

Now, boxes and tins of Hale Tea Co. blends are wrapped in enchanting watercolors by local artist Natalie Guillet, of December Street Design.

Many scenes are instantly recognizable to Savannahians: Hale’s Savannah Sunrise blend shows the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist’s iconic spires; Jones Street Jasmine is an homage to the Historic District’s tidy row- houses. Guillet’s designs are also featured on private-label collaborations with local businesses, including Mirabelle Cafe & Suites and E. Shaver, Bookseller.

It’s not just the look that’s decidedly more modern, either. Thanks to Miller’s commitment to sustainability, all paper packaging is 100 percent recyclable, and the brand’s specialty tins live on in an abundance of ways, whether as pen holders, succulent vases or handy catch-alls (Miller uses hers to hold her son’s toy cars).

Such versatility makes the teas perfect for holiday gifting, providing friends and loved ones with a hot cuppa steeped in Savannah tradition, just in time for cozy season. haletea.com, @haleteaco

HALE TEA CO. EARL GREY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
“Tea can be utilized in so many different ways,” Miller says, noting she’s used Hale Tea in cocktails and baked goods alike. “The possibilities are endless.”

2c all-purpose flour
2 tbsp Hale Tea Co. Earl Grey loose tea
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1c room-temperature butter

1. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine flour, tea leaves and salt. In a stand mixer, cream sugar, vanilla and butter together. Gradually fold in the flour-tea mixture and mix until a dough forms. Place dough on parchment paper sprinkled with flour, and roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Freeze log for at least two hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice log in to 1/3-inch rounds and place on lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
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