Co-founders David Segal and Harley Finkelstein launched their company Firebelly Tea at the end of December. The curated line of teas aims to bring the beverage into the 21st century — and end Americans’ exclusive relationship with coffee for good.
In the U.S., coffee is the widely accepted default for a quick pick-me-up, and the proof is everywhere — take a quick stroll in any major city, and you’ll be hard-pressed to go a block without encountering one of the country’s 15,000-plus Starbucks locations or an independent coffee shop. Tea, on the other hand, has yet to fully integrate itself into American culture.
According to Firebelly Tea co-founder David Segal, that’s because the drink still struggles against outdated perceptions. When people think of tea, they frequently think of artificial flavors and unpleasant sweetness, not to mention stuffy afternoons spent over “Great Aunt Carol’s bridge tea.” As a tea connoisseur, however, Segal is on a mission to give tea’s public image a much-needed makeover.
“It’s fitting that my first interview on this brand is with Entrepreneur,” Segal says. “Tea really is for entrepreneurs. Coffee is corporate America’s drink, and tea is for the movers and shakers, the creators, people that are able to see past the stereotypes to understand the real qualities of something…