Muzyka’s journey from tea cart operator to owner of a multimillion-dollar tea business.
As carefully crafted as the handpicked teas she describes, the author’s aptly named book offers wisdom with each cup, a “touchstone of tranquility, of warmth and nourishment.” Each chapter begins with a discussion of a tea blend related to her story, which begins when Muzyka’s son was born with a life-threatening kidney defect that required surgery. The single mother needed a way to earn money for the hospital bills. A lover of tea and student of aromatherapy and herbs, she looked to her Roma ancestors, medicine women who were healers and herbalists, for guidance. In an upscale consignment shop, she offered her concoctions—Gypsy Love rose tea, Vanilla Rose tea latte, Hazelnut Cinnamon black tea latte—on a cart she called the Gypsy Tearoom. Next came Zhena’s Gypsy Tea company, featuring her line of teas created with all the senses in mind: colorful and attractive to the eye, a perfect balance of fragrances, loose leaves to touch, flavors to “dance on the tongue” and a story to tell. Business, she learned, had its own complex layers to understand. She forged ahead with plans to use organic, fair-trade teas even with the inherent economic challenges, and she built a strong relationship with a tea plantation in Haputale, Sri Lanka, that shared her philosophy. Muzyka provides life lessons at the end of each chapter gleaned from what she learned along the way. Ultimately, this sensuous read captures the romance and pleasure of tea. Consider, for example, Coconut Chai, “a blend of sumptuously ripened coconut, thick and balmy Galle Valley black tea, sweet cinnamon, the bold heat of Burmese ginger, mellow nutmeg, prized imperial cardamom, piquant red peppercorns, and tongue tingling clove.” Who could resist?
A story steeped in passion for tea lovers, dreamers and seekers of a meaningful life.