Erda Tea is an organic herbal tea company based in Coombsville, California in the southeastern section of Napa Valley’s grape growing region. Owner Annie Favia-Erickson proves that Napa Valley—famous for its wine—can also produce great herbal tea.
Named after the Earth goddess Erda and grown in Coombsville caldera (a "geological cup and saucer" states the company's website), this tea is the product of the perfect temperate climate and a lot of care.
“When you have something that is local and fresh the flavoris much more incredible than it is in something that was shipped from anothercountry,” said Favia-Erickson. “I have a green thumb.”
Favia-Erickson was raised on a small farm in Connecticut. After moving to California in 1993, she worked in the wine industry and fell in love with working with plants and went on to study viticulture. In 2001 she and her husband, Andy Erickson, formed Favia Wines.
She branched out into tea because of the meaning it held for her. “I’ve always loved tea,” Favia-Erickson said. Gardening with her mother during her childhood was her first exposure to cultivating herbs. They would then sip herbal teas from the garden together and form lasting memories. “What I love to do is grow the plants and sit and have the tea with people and have them incorporate that ritual into their lives,” she said. “To have that emotional time, that time of building that ritual into your day is something that is really beautiful.”
Favia-Erickson completed a tea course given by Teance founder and Winnie Yu, who sourced her teas from small farms throughout China and Taiwan. The class covered how to brew teas, the sensory experience of tea, as well as the differences in terroir. She noted the similarities—from a growing standpoint —between tea and wine.
Favia-Erickson grew herbs on her Napa Valley farm and initially provided them to friends. She then decided to expand and make her herbal tea business official and founded Erda Teas in July 2018. Her herbs are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. She dries the herbs at low temperatures, so they retain their flavor while being shelf stable, which is done on-site along with blending. The company currently offers eight loose leaf herbal teas: Mt. Olympus Tea, Lemon Verbena, Shiso + Lemon Verbena, Spearmint, Peppermint, Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Chamomile + Lavender, Chamomile.
Favia-Erickson hopes to increase tea culture in America and enlighten people as to the health benefits, including the antioxidants and antimicrobial properties, in herbal tea. “I think herbal teas are the unsung heroes of the tea world and there should be more exploration into them,” she said.
Erda Teas can be ordered on the company's website, which also offers a monthly subscription option that allows Favia-Erickson to custom plant according to the needs of customers, ensuring there are always enough of their favorite teas in stock.
Check out this funand descriptive video on how to brew tea on Erda Tea’s website and visitErdaTea on Instagram at @Erda.Tea.