I caught up with Janet Roach in South Yarra at Raw Essentials offices to find out more about her teas and foundation – The Roach Foundation, that supports burns victims.
I also got to try the teas, amazing by the way! They are complicated delicate and delicious, the best I have tried.
I was impressed by Janets passion for all things organic and toxic free along with her passion for her organic veggie patch at her Red Hill home. A long time tea lover, Raw Essentials was the next logical step. After the tragic fire and burns to her son Jake, they decided to start The Roach Foundation to help families with the ongoing costs and mental health issues associated with burns. As an expensive and ongoing process there isn’t enough support in the medical so they decided to dedicate the charity for that further assistance to help make other victims more comfortable during their ongoing recovery.
I am also proud to announce that Natural Beauty Expert will be partnering with The Roach Foundation for ongoing awareness and support.
Thank you for joining me today Janet Roach, your teas look amazing and I’m excited to share with our readers more about the them and the foundation they support.
Can you tell me little about how all this started? What inspired you to start a tea company?
My son Jake was badly burnt in a fire in April 2011. I had done a lot of research into various alternative treatments for scarring. We felt some of these “not so mainstream” treatments gave Jake a very positive outcome, but they came at a price. We were lucky we could afford to pay for the treatments. Jake become very keen to start a Foundation to help fund other burns survivors in getting the benefit of these treatments. We wanted to find a way to make our Foundation self- funding. I have been in love with teas and the various health benefits since I was in my early 20’s. Blending various teas and herbs from different regions from all over the world is my passion. I believe all our modern synthetic pharmaceuticals originated from centuries of documenting the different properties of plants and teas. Tea has a history of use as a medicine that dates back thousands of years. My mother-in-law lived in a village in Greece and had an amazing knowledge of making her own remedies using different teas and plants. I was fascinated at how well her combinations worked and loved that there were no side effects. I started giving Jake teas to help flush out all the medications he had been on. He started to feel so much better that he became hooked on using the teas as well. (although he drove me crazy with the mess he made when he got into the kitchen). One day, just over 18 months ago, it dawned on us. Why not get our teas properly blended by Masters much more experienced than we were. Make the teas the best of the best, and sell them to fund our Foundation? We both loved the idea and started to work on our blends.
What process did you go through to become a tea maker and develop your own teas?
Buying herbs and teas from all over the world, put me into contact with other like-minded people. I used to buy small quantities of teas, and grow small quantities of various herbs in my organic Garden at Red Hill. I explained what Jake and I wanted to do to my friend and Tea Guru. (He does not wish to be named) This man can tell you where a tea was grown just by tasting it. He lives and breathes Tea. He is a vegan and spends all his time blending teas. He travels the world looking for and writing about remote, organic teas and herbs. He agreed to start blending for us, Our Detox teas are in their 18th incarnation. We tried the teas on ourselves, then our friends and then did forums where we paid people to drink the teas for a couple of weeks and tell us how they felt. Once we had sourced samples for blending from all over the world. We get some of our organic herbs from a German company that have been growing and supplying herbs for over 300 years. Some come from England. Our teas come from Srilanka and Asia mostly. We support small communities with organic methods that haven’t changed in over a century. The origin and ethics of our teas is of utmost impotance to us. As much as I love tea, I am not experienced or qualified to blend tea to the standards we required.
What is your favourite blend and can you tell us a little about it?
It is no secret that the Detox AM tea is my favourite and I start every morning with 3 infusions of this tea. We sometimes refer to this as our Happy Tea. Blended specifally to support the Adrenals and Endocrine system. As a society, we are all exposed to constant stress in our lives. Stress puts our bodies in a constant state of “fight or flight” mode, causing us to excrete cortisol into our blood streams. By supporting the adrenals ,we lower the cortisol levels allowing more adrenaline into our systems, helping to fight stress and making us feel happier and more in control of our lives. We have combined 11 different herbs with Gabba Tea. Gabba tea is one of the most expensive teas and has the highest anti oxidant count of any tea. We added Ashwaganda, a popular adaptogen, which is a substance that brings balance to the immune, hormonal and nervous systems, also counteracting stress and increasing endurance. This tea has Siberian Ginseng, also adaptogenic, with immune-regulating properties, making it useful for fatigue and exhaustion. Studies show that taking Siberian Ginseng, may help you have more energy,get sick less often, have better workouts, and respond to stress and jet-lag better. It also has Astragalus, Juniper berries, goji berries and many other amazing herbs.
What was the inspiration behind the blends?
We started with the two Detox Teas. Firstly because Jake had been bombarded with so many drugs for so long. (he had many operations in a short space of time, mainly to make sure he survived the fire). And secondly because I believe we are all suffering from toxin overload, just living in a city with pollution, drinking water from our water supply and eating so many processed foods. By supporting our major systems, the Adrenals, Endocrine and Lymphatic system, we help our bodies eliminate our toxins allowing them to work at their optimum. I love the packaging,What’s the philosophy behind the violet glass? The violet glass is called Miron glass. Miron glass cuts out the ultraviolet rays which keeps our teas in pristine freshness and potency.
What is your favourite daily ritual?
I am addicted to our teas. First thing in the morning, I make a small pot of Detox Am tea. Not boiling water, as boiling water will kill all the good things in the tea. So I let the kettle sit for 5-10 mins before pouring into the pot. Ideal temperature about 90 degrees. I wet the dry tea with a little water, swish it around and discard the first bit of water. This first bit of water moistens the tea and gets it started. Then I fill the pot with hot water and let it stand for say 3-5 mins. I strain the tea into my cup and refill the pot for the second infusion. I find a quiet place, preferably on my balcony at my farm at Red Hill overlooking the bay and the countryside and have quiet time gathering my thought, inhaling the aroma of the tea and slowly sipping. I reinfuse 3 time. Each time the tea develops different properties as different herbs come forth at different steepings. Its my time to myself each day, and I crave it.
Tell me about the Foundation.
The Foundation will work mainly on the look of the scarring. We have worked with the best plastic surgeons and dermatologists in Australia to help flatten and take the redness out of scarring. The program Jake underwent took about two years and helped with the tightness and discomfort the burns scars leave. We will fund each of our patients for two years of treatments, also assisting with transport and psychological support.
Does the Foundation support any particular cutting edge treatments for burns patients?
The Lasers and injectables in combination are pretty cutting edge, and we are waiting for a new treatment to be approved by the TGA which we know will revolutionise all scarring treatment. Unfortunately we have sworn confidentiality on this and are unable to say much more at this stage. However, when it is approved we will shout it from the treetops. It will be expensive and we will fund full treatment for all our patients. Support Services. In Australia we have two of the best State of the Art facilities in the Alfred Hospital and in Western Australia, funded by the government after the Bali bombings. We in Australia are blessed. However, the cost of our treatments is too high for the government to fund, and that’s where we hope to make a difference.
We have a number of new projects coming up! I just came back from New York, and Jake and I are going to the world Tea expo in Guangzhou in three weeks. Tea has such a fascinating history and we may look at reproducing some of the oldest and most exotic flavoured tea blends we are researching. These teas were blended and reserved for Royalty in the past. They were blended to invoke certain feelings and aroma’s by the most famous Tea Masters in history. Getting the recipes will be a challenge, but when you love tea as much as I do, and you get to smell, handle, blend and drink tea as an occupation. The challenge is a joy. So watch this space.
For my wellness, I drink tea, walk my fur children (my dogs), love and adore my family and friends and live in a state of perpetual gratitude for all the blessings I have in this life.
Thank you for your interest