Tucked away in the corner of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market you will find Whitney Wainui and Whitney Nicholls-Potts selling their specialty brews and offering tastes in small pottery cups.
How did you come up with the idea of selling tea?
Whitney [N-P] had a job in a tea shop when she was a student and she used to sell tea at the Whanganui market. We were always drinking tea together so the idea was brewing too.
It started as an opportunity to bring in a bit of extra cash but has morphed into a bigger business idea. We want to grow our brand and have just got a website so that we can sell packs of tea online.
What is the idea behind your tea?
Our idea is to help people enjoy the process and ceremony of making tea. To give people a moment of slow living and a chance for some reflection time in their day.
Where does the name Kapu T- i come from?
Kapu T- i is M-aori for 'cup of tea'. We are both trying to improve our te reo so we thought we would build this into our brand. It’s interesting that when we put our Kapu T- i sign outside the market, people are curious and they come to find out what we are about.
Is it just a name or does it mean more?
We always start our conversations with “kia ora” or “m-orena” [morning], then take a lead from our customer from there. And we slip a short whakatauk-i [proverb] into every packet of tea. Some people love our kaupapa and seek us out every week to practise their M-aori with us. Of course, there are also some who find it a bit awkward and that’s fine too. We want to be a safe place where people can try as much or as little as they are ready for.
What is your most popular tea?
Definitely our chai. There was a stallholder from India who told us that our chai is just like she makes it at home - that was such
a compliment to be told our chai is authentic. We are also delighted that some people think they don’t like chai but love ours.
Our special GLFM Breakfast blend is very popular too.
How does GLFM work for you?
It’s a great incubator. Everyone who’s there inspires and supports each other. They encourage us and have suggested other opportunities outside the market. The other stallholders are wonderful and make us feel like we belong.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The baby juggle of course. We are learning to adjust our expectations of how much we can get done. But people also like meeting our babies and it’s a great way to meet people.
What has been the biggest joy?
Our loyal regulars. One of our regulars always gets two cups of tea - he’s a writer - we love finding out about our customers. They miss us if we can’t be there. That’s why we are training up Whitney [N-P]’s brother Jack to be our back-up.