12 April 2022

Daughter of Hilltops coffee family turns her hand to tea

| Edwina Mason
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Sienna Capra of Greenethorpe, near Young, has launched a tea brand for young people. Photo: Sienna Capra.

If you’ve lived in Young, Grenfell or anywhere in between, you’d be forgiven for assuming Sienna Capra would gulp her way through mountainous cups of coffee as she churned through her schoolwork during 2020 isolation.

The Capra coffee brand Art of Espresso is synonymous with blends of coffee and an ultra-cool café of that name in Young.

The Art of Espresso mobile coffee cart has rolled out at fancy events like Fashion Week, Donna Hay masterclasses, the Emirates Marquee Bird Cage at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup carnival, the Italian Film Festival in Sydney, Sydney Fine Food at Hyde Park and the Luna Park launch.

READ ALSO Controversial construction reveals remnants of a riotous time in Young

The brand has earned a veritable catalogue of awards and medals since Adrian and Gabrielle Capra of Greenethorpe, near Young, launched their wholly independent business back in 1996.

The coffee line continues to flourish with the retail reins in the hands of barista extraordinaire Mainul Hussain, who now operates the Main Street café under his nickname Hussy.

girl standing in doorframe

Sixteen-year-old Sienna says she’s struck a healthy balance of school and well-being with her Spill the Tea Company ambitions. Photo: Sienna Capra.

But the Capras’ 16-year-old daughter Sienna is proving the entrepreneurial streak runs deep with the launch of Spill the Tea (STT) Co.

While home from boarding school during the first lockdown of 2020, the self-confessed tea addict found herself ruminating over copious cups of tea.

Seeing tea marketed toward a more mature audience, Sienna felt soft drinks, caffeinated drinks and other unhealthy beverages were predominantly the only refreshments for young people.

“That’s when I noticed a major gap in the market for a healthy, sustainable, fun and yummy drink for my age group,” she told About Regional.

Sussing out her friends, most of them agreed tea was seen as something for afternoons with granny or something you might have at smoko with a dash of milk.

“Tea was not perceived as fun, young, trendy, all of which I would associate with my love of tea,” she said. “This needed to change ASAP.”

Having already made an art out of researching the next ingredients to blend into teas she’d try, she fused that enthusiasm with her love of health and wellness and the certainty that her peers were also seeking more wholesome lifestyle outcomes.

STT takes a new, fun, healthy and innovative approach to herbal tea specifically for teens and early adults. It’s named after the phrase ‘spill the tea’, which means ‘what’s been happening’ or ’what’s goss’, which Sienna says is back in circulation among younger crowds.

Brightly packaged and bursting with positive messages, Sienna has spent the past 18 months developing a range of teas that nourish from the inside out. The teas all bear clever names like the ‘Goodnight, Love You, See You in the Morning’ sleepy-time tea, Bounty bar in a cup ‘Boun-Tea’, hug in a mug ‘Emotional Wreck’ and ‘Strawberries and Cream’ – because, yum!

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STT has also expanded into a community with a blog space where Sienna interviews health, fitness, wellbeing, fashion, sustainability and business experts.

“I really wanted to create not only a product, but a space which is centred around wellbeing and fun,” she said.

When she isn’t poring over school books, she’s sniffing, steeping and pouring new concoctions from her repurposed shipping container studio on the family farm.

“It’s super convenient for me and the perfect space for me to work from,” she said.

“As I’m still at school, I have to complete most of my Spill the Tea Company work on weekends, afternoons and sometimes early morning if I have orders that came through the night before.”

Sienna says so far she “hasn’t struggled too much” with balancing her time between business, school, job, social life, health and family.

“I love every single aspect of my business so I never think of Spill the Tea Company as ‘work’ which makes life a lot easier,” she said.

Bolstered by a positive market response and parents she says are “without bias, the most supportive and encouraging people on the planet”, Sienna is looking to expand her range into more health and wellness products.

“Hopefully one day I will be stocked all over Australia and, ultimately, I would be so incredibly happy to see STT become the ‘go-to’ brand for health, wellness and fun products,” she said.

Visit the Spill the Tea Co website for more information.

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