A bartender by trade, Alisa Wilcher decided to take on a different kind of beverage with Sangha Tea. Alisa blends teas using ingredients and promotes not only healthy alternatives to coffee but a healthy lifestyle. Sangha Tea products can be found at Durham Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Alisa spoke to Neecole Bostick about her teashop over a cup of iced gunpowder green tea.


Neecole Bostick: What are the health benefits of tea drinking?

They’re vast. Going from helping with metabolism, tooth decay, to allergies —some of the herbal teas, which are good for your kids, they have vitamins and nutrients you may not be getting elsewhere. I don’t put sugar or cream in my teas; it needs to be in its purest form. The health benefits outweigh anything.

NB: When did the business originally start?

AW: This is Sangha’s third year with me taking it over. With there not being a brick and mortar, I am able to have more freedom with what I can do. I can pick and choose where I sell and what feels right not only for myself but my family.

One of the things I was talking about with Mary, my wife, a conversation that kept coming back is this is a business we can incorporate our kids in. We are doing it together and we talk about how we can bring others into it. Really try to get my soapbox, my tea box if you will, with getting my message out.

NB: How did you become involved in Sangha?

I actually got involved when I was running Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill. One of my employees that worked there asked if I knew Jeremy, the founder of Sangha Tea in Durham. She connected us, and there was a couple of times that we had the opportunity to support Jeremy while he did pop-up events in Durham. We were both tea businesses, and we fostered a relationship from there. Not too long after that Jeremy was meaning to explore new avenues. After a little bit of a courtship, I decided the next step was to buy Sangha. So I took it over, and Jeremy made his way back to the west coast and, later, Thailand.  

NB: What is your mission statement?

Well, Sangha’s is promoting health and wellness through tea, yoga and meditation. I am a true hippie at heart, so my goal is to bring the health and wellness aspect to community because that’s really important to me and be able to foster that through tea, and work it into the community.

NB: How do you plan to bring this mission statement out to the public and your audience?

One of the ways I want to be able to get to the community is partnering with Table. I want to be able to give back directly into our community, allowing other people to see that when they come and get a tea, they aren’t only helping themselves, but the community as well. We want to be able to give back. Its both my professional and personal philosophy.