“I can’t wait for summer,” Kelly Clement, founder of small-batch tea label Tea Social, tells Broadsheet as she swirls a biodegradable corn-fibre tea bag around her mug, turning the water pink. “I think that one will make an incredible iced tea. It’s got such a nice colour and it’s so refreshing.”

She’s referring to her Aquarius blend, part of an astrology-themed range. The blend – inspired by her mum – is packed with echinacea, Siberian ginseng, spearmint, rosehip, hibiscus, ginger and lemongrass. “I picked out some people in my life who are really important to me, and I named a tea after their zodiac signs,” says Clement. “The Aquarius [tea] is a sickness remedy, and who doesn’t want their mum when they’re feeling sick?”

Also in the range are the Virgo Chai (black tea, cardamom, ginger, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, fennel seeds and star anise), and the soon-to-be released Scorpio, which is a blend of lemon balm, pink rose petals, valerian root, chamomile and lemon myrtle.

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“It’s the sleep tea,” says Clement. “It’s got valerian root, which I call nature’s valium because it’s amazing for sleep.” The Scorpio who inspired it is her boyfriend. “He calms me down and helps me sleep.”

Apart from the astrological blends, Tea Social’s range features three other teas, including an English breakfast made with a blend of Sri Lankan and Nepalese leaves; a Japanese sencha; and the organic Gen Mai Cha, made with high-quality green tea. They’re all completely natural, free from parabens, artificial colours, flavours, synthetics and GMOs. Buy them in stylish recyclable glass jars (from $24), either loose-leaf or in biodegradable tea bags, then order refill pouches (from $12) when you run out.

“The teabags were an absolute nightmare to find,” Clement admits. “Finding ones that didn’t have plastic in them was really difficult, but we found some made with unbleached corn fibre, so they’re 100 per cent biodegradable and compostable.”

While this environmental consciousness is intrinsic to Clement’s business, it’s not just the planet she’s striving to support. The brand’s packaging is crafted by a company in Victoria that employs people with disabilities. “I have a cousin with Down syndrome, and I have seen how much he has flourished when he is given certain opportunities.”

The brand also donates a portion of all sales to not-for-profit Arthritis Australia. Once again, Clement has a connection to the cause: her mum was a dancer with The Australian Ballet and has suffered from arthritis since she was around 16.

While the health benefits of Tea Social teas – which contain ingredients such as cinnamon (which is thought to be a natural muscle relaxant), ginger (an anti-inflammatory), and rosehip (which can ease symptoms in people with osteoarthritis) – can only do so much for her mum, Clement is hoping to help others realise that when it comes to tea, the cup is always half full.

teasocial.com.au