The cup of tea that changed it all

Dona Perera had pursued quite diverse academic career paths and travelled the world by the time she realised a constant presence through it all was the one thing she had always been looking for.

Through life’s highs and lows and the everyday, Dona had always loved a good cup of tea.

She had grown up with it as an everyday ritual in the family home in Sri Lanka and learned about its ability to connect and relax people in her first job, as a flight attendant with Sri Lankan Airlines.

Later on, through her business life and extensive travels, there were many, many cups of tea.

“I always knew tea was a common thing that could get people around a table and get them talking, whether I was in England or Russia or America, Dubai or Sri Lanka or Japan,” she said.

“It was always the first thing we offered people at home, I remember it as a child, and I didn’t realise how much of an impact it had until about three years ago.”

After working in human resources, pharmaceuticals, project management, and lecturing in business, Dona seemed to always be looking for work outside Ipswich, her home now for 12 years.

A friend pointed this out one day and then asked: “Have you ever thought of starting your own businesses?”, which got Dona thinking.

When another friend, again over a cup of tea, suggested she open a tea shop, the cogs really began turning and within 24 hours, Dona had found her first supplier, a distant cousin back in Sri Lanka.

Suddenly she had not only created work for herself in Ipswich but she was also able to pour her lifelong passion for tea into the project as well.

Tranquil Tea launched in January 2018 stocking a range of single estate teas and hard-to-find tisanes.

There’s a pomegranate version that has the fruit infused into the pure single estate black tea with hibiscus flowers and rose petals.

A chai is made fragrant with the addition of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, while different antioxidant-rich soursop tea are offered including one teamed with marigold petals.

Dona also offers high teas, afternoon teas and Devonshire teas with a different menu of teas by the pot every month, and she runs educational tea experiences, priced from $30 per person, that delve into the history of tea and the styles and techniques used to create different flavours.

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