Tea Plus Two

The Pearl’s newest tea purveyor is a family affair.

Like any mother and daughter, Mary Hunter and Marguex Gala don’t always see eye-to-eye. Hunter prefers sweet and simple, while Gala favors spicy and bold. But when it comes to crafting the perfect teas, they’ve got it down to—well—a tee.

“We love the medicinal parts of tea, the beauty of tea, and the community that it brings together.”

Last February, the pair started Tea Hunter Company (360-241-1662, teahuntercompany.com), an idea that began steeping nearly two decades ago. At the time, Hunter co-owned a coffee shop, where—as soon as Gala was old enough to carry a tray of tea cups without dropping them—they hosted tea parties. “Drinking tea has always been a big part of our lives,” says Hunter. “We love the medicinal parts of tea, the beauty of tea, and the community that it brings together.”

Combining Hunter’s history in the coffee industry with Gala’s background as a biochemistry teacher, they blended their talents to develop 20 different tea flavors. Although Gala dreams up the names, Hunter first took a crack at the process. “I was trying to be really straightforward with names like ‘Peach and Ginger,’” Hunter says, “but then Marguex suggested ‘Peachy Keen Ginger Queen’—she just adds that fun, jazzy vibe. It makes people want to know more about the tea.”

Tea Hunter Fan Favorites

Fan favorites include Rajah’s Revival (Jasmine), Blue Willow (Earl Grey), and Oobelong With Me (Oolong). You can find these colorfully packaged 4-oz bags of loose-leaf tea at both World Foods and Natural Market, or served by the cup at Intel Cafe as well as a few spots across the border in Washington.

With an office in the Pearl District and a blending room on a 10-acre ranch in Ridgefield, Washington, they don’t have a retail space just yet, but plans to open one are on the horizon. “Right now we’d love to focus on getting our teas into coffee shops,” says Hunter. “We come from such a coffee community, but tea right now is what coffee was in the ’80s. It’s not your grandmother’s tea anymore.” –Lauren Kershner | Photo by Michelle Mitchell