Naturopath and Tea Maker - Anthia Koullouros of Ovvio Organic Tea
As we step into the Ovvio flagship store in Five Ways Paddington, we instantly feel a sense of homecoming. After a rainy morning rays of sun peaks through and fills the window with a lovely warm light. The white Ovvio tea tins against the white brick and timber sets a lovely scene and you feel like you have stepped into an old European tea house.
Vases with fresh flowers and herbs, home baked banana cake (baked daily by Anthia’s mother) and the beautiful selection of vintage flowery tea cups just invites us in further. We are welcomed by Account Manager Jessica and soon also General Manager Kennedy closely followed by Anthia herself and of course the two team additions, the Spoodles Maya and Casper, who are clearly up for a chat and a cuddle. Surrounded by calmness and warmth, it feels like a great place to be. Anthia is a renowned Naturopath with a strong belief that life is too short to have ill health.
With a motto of ‘Healing the world one cup of tea at a time’ Anthia is doing her best to inspire others to cultivate freedom through well being. She began consulting in 1994 and after ten years of clinical experience, opened Ovvio The Organic Health & Lifestyle Store and Naturopathic Clinic located in a quaint Paddington terrace reminiscent of old-fashioned apothecaries.
From this space, Anthia was inspired to create her own brand of hand-blended, organic teas and herb & spices, originally created for Anthia’s clients to support the transition from processed food to whole fresh foods.
What inspired you to open the Ovvio The Organic Health & Lifestyle Store and Naturopathic Clinic and, although very related, diversify into the Ovvio Organic Tea brand?
I wanted to create a public space which reached more people. During my Naturopathic Study I worked for Penelope Sach Herbal Teas. She was my mentor. Herbal teas act as simple and natural remedies to help clients transition from ill health to one of health.
What do you love about running your own business?
I get to be creative, realise my dreams, choose my own hours, choose my own team, and run it at my own pace which is pretty fast at present as we are growing fast.
In a competitive market, how do you stand out?
Staying premium, transparent and true to our brand.
Only after talking to you, did we realise the high levels of pesticide residue that are found in many brands of teas, including the big brands. What is your response to this and what should people be looking for when buying tea?
The only tea to purchase is certified organic as only then you can guarantee no GMO or chemicals have been used during farming or manufacturing. I can’t image drinking a hot cup of chemicals as this is the opposite effect of what tea should offer which is therapy, joy and connection. Also choose additive free tea. Many teas contain natural flavours or colours or sugars. Even if they are naturally derived additives they take away from the natural flavour of the natural ingredients. Usually tea that is full of additives has been highly processed, devoid of flavour and nutrition. When choosing teabags choose those that are made from biodegradable plant based fabrics. Not bleached paper, cotton or nylon (many silk fabrics are made from nylon).
People drink a lot of tea, many without knowing the potential health benefits. What are the general healing properties of pesticide free organic tea?
It depends on the ingredients - whether the tea is black, green or herbal. Tea can offer therapeutic benefits of calm, energy, restoration and rejuvenation or offer nutritional benefits and therapy from their antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.
We love the No 10 Paddington Organic Tea not only for its beautiful flavours but also because it was the first tea you created and you named it after your location. What does the local community in Paddington mean to you, do you get inspiration from your locality?
Paddington is where I opened up my first clinical practice in a quaint Paddington terrace over 20 years ago. Years later on the same street, I opened up Ovvio The Organic Lifestyle Store & Clinic and then we relocated to larger premises in Five Ways Paddington. I can’t imagine being anywhere else but I can imagine having more stores. I love the old world feel of Paddington - tea and old fashioned European Apothecaries have that same feel.
It’s great to see a brand committed to being organic and Australian made - what are some of the advantages/disadvantages of keeping it local?
Australian made but the ingredients are sourced globally from where ever we can find the very best organic flowers, leaves, bark, twigs, seeds and spices. Many ingredients such as lemon myrtle or hibiscus flower are grown in Australia.
We were very excited to learn that your teas were served at the Oscars this year! How did this come about and what has this meant for the business?
They wanted some fresh new products to be offered to the stars and they chose us after trying the tea to put in their green room, rehearsal and dressing rooms.
What’s next for you and your brand?
We want to be the best premium organic tea and wellness brand nationally, then the world! Write more books and do more wellness talks.
Being a Paddington local what are your local favourites:
Favourite fashion store?
Favourite place for dinner with friends?
Hotel Centennial (technically Woollahra but close enough).
What’s something that only a local would know?
The quiet time of day, before the hustle and bustle, which is 6:30am in the mornings when locals meet to grab a coffee and chit chat.
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Chai & Chocolate Tube
Chai in a cup, honey to sweeten, cinnamon for fragrance, chocolate on the side.
Soft & Sweet Tube
With cups of organic bambino tea to relax and white chocolate with Tongan bourbon vanilla bean extraordinaire to simply devour.
Tea Break Tube
A combination of all Australian products to enjoy a lovely morning tea time.