The Story of TUMBLEWOOD TEAS
An Interview with Riza Gilpin & Laurie Rennie, Owners of TUMBLEWOOD TEAS
Riza, you were the initial founder of Tumblewood Teas. How did you come to find yourself in the tea business?
Tea has always been a part of my life, from the early years of drinking it from a glass with my Grandpa, then learning to add milk and sugar from my British neighbor, Joan. It’s always been in the back of my mind as something I’d someday turn into career, although I wasn’t sure in what way, exactly.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many types of tea, and have gathered a beautiful collection of tea accessories and tins from around the world—now displayed in our office. So, in effect, I have been a student of tea for a very long time. Thankfully, with TUMBLEWOOD, we can now enjoy the finest single origins and blends right here in Montana, and call it a career!
And you, Laurie? What was it about the tea business that drew you in?
Well, my story is quite different from Riza’s. Really, my only experience had been drinking sweet drinks. I had never been introduced to anything that even remotely resembled fine whole leaf brews—they just weren’t available in my area.
Finally, I had the opportunity to drink a high quality, hand-blended loose leaf tea not long before working in this industry. This was my first experience with any fine infusion, and I was hooked after that. I just wanted to learn all I could.
Riza: The funny thing is that, quite frankly, Laurie’s palate and her ability to identify the most complex characteristics, now far surpass my own.
So you are both from different backgrounds. How did you ultimately come together?
Laurie: We’re not sure how we stumbled upon each other, but we had a great friendship first before we started working together. We are so grateful for what we have built. It’s a special thing to work and share a common passion with your best friend.
Riza: As Laurie said, I’m not exactly clear on how it happened but ever so grateful that it did. Tumblewood has blessed us with so many amazing partnerships and has allowed us to make a difference not only right here in Montana, but across the globe.
Our families and friends have supported us in making TUMBLEWOOD TEAS a reality. It’s been a lot of effort and hard work, but we are absolutely in love with this business. We hope to educate and spread the knowledge about our incredible teas on a greater scale, and to continue to support both local producers and our partners from tea estates around the world.
Thanks to you, too, for supporting us. We love our fans!
Laurie & Riza; Owners