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It’s not just tea, it’s an experience.  

February 26, 2021
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Stephanie Synclair
Credit: Sara Hanna

As a young girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Stephanie Synclair recalls daydreaming about the far-off places she'd seen depicted in Victorian paintings.

Even as an adult, she never gave up on her goal of seeing the world.

In 2012, Synclair and her then seven-year-old son Caden spent a year traveling through Europe and Asia. In Thailand, Bali, and Singapore, the Southerners who were used to sipping on sweet tea were introduced to tea as a ritual—as an experience ingrained in the culture.

Synclair incorporated tea into her daily routine when she returned home to Georgia in 2013, even switching out her morning cup of coffee. She started adding tea ceremonies into her day whenever she needed a pause.

Synclair's love for tea continued to bloom in the coming years, culminating with the better part of 2019 spent conducting research in France. By January 2020, her loose-leaf tea brand LaRue 1680 was ready to go. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic had other plans.

With the launch of LaRue 1680 delayed, Synclair used the extra months to perfect her product. It was finally up and running in October, with a collection of luxury teas available nationwide.

And it's not just tea she's selling, it's romance.

LaRue 1680 tea
Credit: Stephanie Synclair

When Netflix's runaway hit Bridgerton premiered just a few months later, it was clear that Synclair had tapped into the zeitgeist.  

Since then, Synclair told Today that she's seen a significant increase in sales, growing about 500% compared to October through December.

"Generally, the way you see tea marketed is flat, not sexy. When it's done right, it's so sexy. This is not your grandmother's tea," Synclair explained. "Listen: Grab a beautiful cup and let's put our pinkies up."

The loose-leaf teas are sold in half-ounce tins or two-ounce bags for $15 to $23.  All can be purchased at LaRue1680.com.

Pinkies up, indeed!