“I’ve always loved nutrition,” says Kate Dalton, the woman behind Sydney’s Mayde Tea. “Mum raised us on a whole-food diet, so I grew up with it.” It wasn’t until she began seeing her own naturopath that Dalton discovered the power of medicinal herbs. “I started using herbs for my own personal health, then realised that I could share this with others,” she explains.
It was during her first semester at Endeavour College of Natural Health that Dalton discovered she wanted to share the benefits of medicinal herbs. From a student with next-to-no-knowledge of business, she became the sole producer, seller and provider of this venture, paying friends for design work with bags of tea.
The tea blends are developed based on common ailments suffered every day: digestive issues, low energy and anxiety, to name a few. “You can grow anything locally," she says, "at the moment I source my ingredients from all over the world." Where possible, Dalton sources herbs that have been wild-crafted, meaning they are harvested directly from their natural habitat. While she currently doesn't have facilities to harvest her teas locally, that will soon change.
These days Dalton is gearing up to head off on a new adventure, taking up a spare acre at The Farm Byron Bay, set aside for the growth and cultivation of specific herbs which can thrive in the harsh Australian climate. “This is great for me because I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” Dalton laughs. “It gives me full control of the process from growth, to harvest, to blending.” A challenge surely, but not one that daunts Dalton; she will continue to pack and ship her stock of teas to cafes around Australia as normal.
As local cafes began stocking Mayde Tea, its popularity has grown organically, with a little help from Instagram.
In her future Dalton sees a small teahouse where she can make and sell her teas and do consultations. “I want to keep this going, even when I become a naturopath,” she says, “but I’ll probably have to hand the majority of it over to someone else. We’ll see how I go with that.”