A look into Kleff Tea, a Denver-based, loose-leaf tea company
Denver’s Kleff Tea specializes in crafting loose-leaf tea blends locally for a symphony of tastes—ensuring top-notch flavor, quality, and aroma. In fact, the relatively new company’s name is deliberately reminiscent of the word clef from music terminology. As Kleff Tea founder Manuel Solis explains, each tea’s blend is meticulously orchestrated so that the flavors and aromas sing in harmony with each other.
We caught up with Solis on the verge of Kleff Tea’s one-year anniversary to learn a little bit more about the company, its tea and overall philosophy, and what to keep our eyes peeled for on the horizon.
Colorado Homes & Lifestyles: How did you decide that tea was… your cup of tea?
Solis: It all started with my travels in Asia about six years ago. I realized that there is a very different concept of tea there than in the western world. In Asia, everything is more about the ceremony, the culture, the spiritual side of tea—it’s all about connecting with yourself and finding those flavors and notes that speak to you.
When I returned, I decided to contact the people and the tea plantations I visited in Asia to see if I could possible to order tea for myself—on a very small scale. Then I saw a big market for loose-leaf tea and decided to start doing it on a larger scale. That’s when I started visiting plantations to find something that could be adapted to the American palette.
For those who don’t exactly know what it means to “microblend tea locally,” can you explain?
Microblending means that we don’t blend more than five pounds of tea at a time. The advantage of doing so is that we want to pay close attention to the combinations of that recipe. Also, the tea will be the freshest tea you can find; it won’t sit on the shelf. We want to guarantee that the tea you’re getting is fresh and at its peak for taste and performance.
Some of your bestsellers are the Altitude Oolong, Bangkok Chai, Ceremonial Matcha, and Earl Grey Citrus, just to name a few. What’s your personal favorite?
I love chai. We have an entire family of chai blends. My favorite is the Roiboos Chai. Roiboos is a South African herb that is very high in antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free.
Tell us about your line of tea for children, Kleff Kids.
Right now we have two blends for children, and we’re working on expanding the line. These are caffeine-free teas—Roiboos or herb-based—and organic, inspired my own two children’s love for tea and certain flavors. And while the tea is for children (and adults!) to enjoy, proceeds of these sales go to Children’s Hospital Colorado, to benefit children and their families, as well.
Kleff Tea creator, Manuel Solis
What are Kleff Tea’s plans for 2017 and beyond?
We have a “food truck for tea” concept in the works, slated for this year. This will be one of the first mobile teahouses in the country, and it will have exquisite tea technology built it—it will not be just a tea bag and hot water.
We want to use this mobile teahouse to visit different parts of Denver and Colorado to see what people like and to also grow the market before we work on a brick-and-mortar store. We also plan to be at farmers' markets this summer.
To peruse Kleff Tea’s blends and learn more, visit klefftea.com.