Sharing a Passion for Tea with Every Cup
Karen Gardiner – Owner of ArtfulTea
I’m a devoted tea drinker, occasional artist, novice knitter and recovering attorney. I’m intensely passionate about quality loose leaf tea, and I get immense joy in searching for and sampling tea from all over the world. But I’m most delighted when I’m able to introduce others to tea and educate them about its many pleasures.
I got my start in the tea business in 2000 when a dear friend and I joined our talents to open a magical little bookstore and tea shop called Kindred Spirit in a quaint 100-year-old house in Key West, Florida. In 2002, I began attending the World Tea Expo (held annually in Las Vegas of all places!), where I would meet tea growers from around the world, take classes in tea blending and keep up-to-date on the ever growing list of health benefits of tea.
In 2006, when one door closed (alas, Kindred Spirit), another opened and I found myself moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico – a place I’d loved as a visitor for nearly a decade. Before I was even settled, I received requests from former Kindred Spirit customers asking how they could order the tea they’d grown to love, so I launched ArtfulTea in 2007 as an online business. I also began selling at local markets in Santa Fe and was delighted to join the Railyard Artisan Market in 2010. By November 2012, I opened ArtfulTea in its current location at The Santa Fe Farmers Market Shops, in the bustling Railyard district of downtown Santa Fe.
The tea collection at ArtfulTea includes a number of the teas that were originally available at Kindred Spirit, but the list has expanded over the years and now includes more than 65 exceptional teas. I personally hand blend many of the teas you’ll find here, although I also allow some growers and suppliers whom I know and trust to do what they do best, which includes crafting many of these fine teas.
Thank you for trying ArtfulTea. I am grateful to have the chance to share my passion for tea with you and, I trust, provide you with a perfect cup of tea.
PS – In case you got the idea that I’m a purist when it comes to tea, I can trace my love of tea back to childhood where, under my grandfather’s influence, those first cups were more milk and sugar than tea. Thankfully, I learned to appreciate good quality tea without benefit of any sweeteners, but I will admit I sometimes add milk and sugar to a cup of hearty black tea (in tribute to Granddad, of course).