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Black-owned Luxury Tea Company: LaRue 1680


Photo by LaRue 1680


Indulge in a cup of self-care with Stephanie Synclair’s luxury tea company LaRue 1680! LaRue 1680 is a Black, female-owned brand that provides organic loose-leaf teas and curated accessories. Synclair’s passion for tea was sparked by her travels around Europe and Asia. She was in awe at the culture and the effect that tea has on everyday life. She noticed that in the U.S. we drink tea as we multitask, but in other parts of the world, it's much more than that. “One of the things I realized was as Americans, we are so stressed we don’t even know we’re stressed. We constantly go, go, go and rush, rush, rush,” said Synclair. But in other countries, tea is an intricate part of their society and self-care, creating a fully immersive experience. Tea allows you to slow down as you relax, focusing on self-awareness.

Synclair’s one-of-a-kind recipes are what she refers to as “foreplay” for the taste buds. For Stephanie, tea is a full experience, triggering all the senses. “I make it a point to make sure our teas are visually appealing, they’re beautiful, and then the smell, the scent of the leaves opens up; the flowers open up, it entices your senses. I feel like the process of seeing it, smelling it, and observing it, it’s like foreplay.” Our senses impact our preferences; if something smells good, we automatically think it’ll taste good. And Synclair’s teas have an enchanting aroma. “We do not do plain. We like exciting, we like parties of flavors in our mouths.”


The year 2020 has fueled a huge demand for the tea industry. This past year has brought us shows like The Crown and Bridgeton into American culture, giving Synclair’s business the boost it needed to thrive. “I think part of the reason why tea isn't as popular in the United States as it is in Europe and Asia is that we don’t see tea as much. It’s about the representation on television of tea like there is in other countries.” In the U.S., we are accustomed to and constantly exposed to soft drinks and soda so, when we are introduced to the luxurious lifestyle involving tea on these shows, we are intrigued. “So, while we were forced to sit down in 2020, we began to see these shows and they're drinking tea! And it’s the programming that makes you think, ‘huh I enjoy this show, I like the lifestyle, why don’t I try tea?’” said Synclair.

During the pandemic, it is important to remember that mental health check-ins are just as important as physical ones. Tea is the perfect way to practice self-care and mindfulness as well as aiding your physical wellness. Boosting your immune system with a relaxing cup of tea is sometimes exactly what the doctor orders in such stressful and unprecedented times such as these.

Photo by LaRue 1680

Tea can be extremely beneficial for stress reduction because of the key ingredients each type contains. The teas containing cinnamon and nutmeg help lower blood pressure and glucose levels. The new Ginger Turmeric that Synclair carries is great for nausea and any intestinal issue. Synclair’s favorite blend, the Casablanca Street, is made with elderberries that help strengthen the immune system. Synclair swears by all of her blends because she says she doesn't carry anything she doesn’t like. She is currently amidst LaRue’s wellness drops. Over the next three months, every month LaRue will be adding two new wellness blends to their stock. This month’s drop was the Ginger Turmeric Blend and the Ayurvedic Wellness Blend.

A lot of people forget that teas are spices, and Synclair loves to experiment with different blends and flavors. Cooking puts Synclair in a meditative state, relaxing her and allowing her to have fun with different tea leaves, fruits, and spices. In her blog, Synclair shows viewers the many meals and capabilities her tea blends have. She discovered that her Casablanca blend makes the perfect addition to waffles, creating a beautifully pigmented blue. And she accidentally discovered that her Moroccan mint tea can be used as a rub on lamb chops, completely transforming your whole lamb chop experience. “I was just like ‘I wonder’ and I tried it and my ‘I wonder’ turned into ‘this is delicious,’” chuckled Synclair.

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Stephanie says her optimistic personality has helped to view hurdles as an opportunity when starting her business. She wants to remind working mothers to ‘give yourself credit because there is no balance.’ Knowing what she does now, Synclair advises people not to stress the small things. As a single parent, the luxury tea owner says that the balance between parenting and entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. She has some days when she’s in full mom mode and others that she is focused on business. She has found that including her son in her work kills two birds with one stone; she feels less guilty about the time she spends on work and they get some bonding time in. Including her son in LaRue has made work-related tasks their thing. “I have interviews coming up and I think my son is just as excited as I am.”

Photo by LaRue 1680

Her proudest aspect of owning her successful business is the legacy she is leaving for her son. She just purchased 40 acres of land in Texas—seeing the look on her son’s face when viewing their new home was priceless. Having a tangible representation of her success that she can leave to her kids and her grandkids means the world to Synclair. She acts as a living example to her son and the world of what is possible. “I’m most proud of demonstrating for my son that there are no limitations. And as a Black woman in the United States, in such racially tense times, we have so many other messages that are coming to us. To demonstrate to my son that you don’t have any limitations being a Black man in America, as long as you believe that and as long as you focus on your goals then everything will work out.”

Stephanie’s dream is to open fabulous pop-up stores around the United States that make you feel like you’re walking through a Persian garden. But until COVID is a thing of the past, her teas are available for purchase here.

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