Tea time with Tea Tonic

As a naturopath and herbalist, Lisa Hilbert wanted to share her love of tea with the world. Most of all, she wanted help others incorporate wellness into their day. Knowing the risks associated with drinking heavily processed tea, Hilbert was committed to using the highest quality, pure ingredients ―organic plants and herbs that would cure ailments, promote good health and taste delicious.

From humble beginnings, Tea Tonic has grown to become one of the premium suppliers of first-grade organic tea in Australia. The brand has over 30 blends, from promoting better sleep to boosting immunity or simply making people smile, Tea Tonic aims to help thousands of Aussies feel better every day.

When did you launch Tea Tonic and what inspired you to start the business?

I was inspired to start Tea Tonic as I wanted to make health and wellbeing accessible to everyone. I began this journey in 1998 and have not looked back since. As a naturopath, traditional teas can do more harm than good, so I wanted to raise the bar with premium, unprocessed teas made from organic ingredients―teas that would improve health, that people would genuinely love to drink. That’s was the original vision and it still inspires me today.

There have been many highlights and challenges over the years since I started Tea Tonic. One of the highlights of my career occurred in 2000, when I was able to take my tea to Paris, France and have it on show at an expo. Recently, being featured in Vogue Australia showcasing my story was a highlight. Another has been purchasing my teabag machine and enabling people across Australia and internationally to consume both loose leaf tea and teabags.

At the same time, I have faced several challenges over the years. Purchasing a teabag machine and learning how to operate it was particularly difficult. Learning about finance within a business was also challenging. Over the past year, adapting to the changing of our world as we faced the Covid pandemic proved to be difficult, however, has not stopped us from producing our blends.

You seem to really love what you are doing. Tell us more about the processes and how you decide on fragrances and blends?

What I love most about my job is the variety, not just being one dimensional, but overseeing every aspect of the business.

The first tea to launch was Complexion Tea―a signature blend of cleansing herbs that support glowing skin. From there, the range quickly expanded as buzz about Tea Tonic grew. New teas were added every year, each as flavoursome as the last―and all made in Australia from the finest organic ingredients.

Every year I aim to launch one or two new tea blends. When developing the new flavours, I have many ideas on the drawing board, but it all comes down to the theory behind it and what combinations work in the right percentages.

My latest tea is True Calm, to help cope with day to day stress which is very timely with what we live with today.

You mentioned Covid earlier, how has it affected your business and what trends do you see come out of it?

Covid has impacted my small business significantly, however, we have been able to adapt to the challenges of working from home and having limited staff on site to manufacture tea.

In light of the recent pandemic, the trends I see continuing for 2021/22 are more products being developed to benefit people’s health and wellbeing and support mental health.

Being organic has always been important for our brand as tea is a true tonic, and I want my tea to be a healthy tonic with no pesticides or nasties.

Why should retailers stock your tea and what else can they expect to see from Tea Tonic in 2021/22?

Retailers should stock Tea Tonic as I am Australia’s only female teabag manufacturer who produces Australia’s healthiest tea range. People just love the taste and how our products look on the shelves.

We are also looking to introduce a new limited edition tea. I can’t say much more than that, but watch this space!