EL PASO —After an inspiring speaker at summer church camp described how ordinary people can achieve extraordinary goals, brothers Andrew and Michael Estrada saw their future in the tea leaves.
What started as a classic dream for the Estrada brothers at that camp in 2012 in Sacramento, N.M, became a reality in 2014 with the first shipment of “radically refreshing” Humanitea bottled tea.
“Fresh brewed tea is just another level of good,” said Andrew Estrada, 26. “At youth camp, we always drink tea. Literally, brewed tea.”
When asked why tea above all else, he said, “It dawned that people don’t like tea because it’s not made correctly.”
The Estrada brothers’ journey began when they came back home from summer camp.
“I told my brother Michael what I wanted to do and he’s like, ‘Tea? Why would you want to make tea? Tea is dumb. Nobody likes tea.’ And I was like, yeah, but it’s actually going to explode in a little bit. It’s going to get bigger, bigger and bigger. And he was like, ‘Well, like prove it to me.’
As Andrew Estrada did research, he found that tea is currently the second most consumed beverage after water in the world.
“Tea is climbing in the United States and soda is going down in the United States,” he said. “As far as trend goes, people are moving towards tea. All the big companies; Coca-Cola, Pepsi, all the major brands are buying tea companies, so we know it’s a good time to be in tea.”
The brothers came up with a cultural branding approach to their product. They believe that humanity’s utmost virtue is that of the power of unity and compassion, so they wanted to create all-natural, refreshing teas and beverages that promoted a free and active lifestyle.
“We wanted to be the people’s product, where people stood by us because they believed in us, they believed in our product and they believed in our core values of helping people in doing things radically different,” Andrew Estrada said.
After researching the trend, he then considered how they could make tea differently, to stand out from the crowd.
“We bought $300 worth of loose leaf tea, all kinds of tea, rooibos tea, white tea, black tea, green tea, red tea. We bought it all and then we bought different spices from a company – everything again loose leaf like gingerroot, lemongrass, spearmint,” Andrew Estrada said.
As Michael Estrada, 28, made the mixtures and created flavors, Andrew Estrada made sure that it would be commercially acceptable.
“So it was just experimenting, experimenting until we said, that hits, that’s awesome,” Andrew Estrada said.
When they started researching their trademark they found out that there were two people ahead of them with the name they wanted. One was a jean company that sold $200 jeans and tea. But the company dropped the tea and focused on jeans leaving them with the tea name. Eventually the Estrada brothers partnered with the second person, Tracy McQuaid, 31, who was based in Florida. Together they developed HUMANITEA Co.
“Being naïve helps you to dream and not let a lot of things get in the way,” Andrew Estrada said.
At the time of the business development process they all had full-time jobs. Andrew was working at Verizon Wireless with internal communications and marketing, Michael was working at a pawn shop, while McQuaid worked at Global Rx Trade Marketing. They still managed to make calls during lunch times, adjusting to different time zones for two years until they eventually made their final product HUMANITEA a reality.
HUMANITEA’s three flavors: black tea, mango and melon; green tea, passion fruit and kiwi: and lemonade and coconut, are now available in 12 locations in El Paso, including the three Craze restaurants and Off The Grill BBQ Food Truck and two stores in Florida . More flavors and locations are in the pipeline.