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Cyclist launches tea firm after epic adventure

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A WOMAN who planned to cycle from Ledbury to Singapore has returned home to start a tea company after falling in love with Georgia.

Amy Jones never made it as far as the far-eastern city state, instead she ended up living in Tbilisi after beginning her adventure in 2018.

As we previously reported, the then 25-year-old set off from the town’s High Street amid heavy snow brought by the “Beast from the East” in February of that year.

After cycling some 3,000 miles through 14 countries over five months, she eventually arrived in the Caucasus. Sandwiched between Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia is a mountainous country with a diverse and rich culture.

Soon after arriving in its capital Tbilisi, Amy adopted a street dog and threw herself into local life.

While there, she noticed that the country had an untapped potential for growing tea. 

During Soviet times, Georgia was the world’s fourth largest producer of the UK’s favourite drink. However, the industry collapsed along with the USSR.

However, it still has an ideal subtropical climate and the countryside abounds with abandoned tea plantations and crumbling ruins of factories.

“Georgia is a very different place to Ledbury,” she said. “It’s wild, adventurous, and sometimes very chaotic.

“People in Georgia are always ready to invite you in for a glass of wine, even if you are a stranger. The tea makers we met were incredibly open hearted.”

On her travels, she discovered some herbal teas that are unique to Georgia. Before the arrival of the tea plant, mountainous communities used leaves from the plants they had around them. Blueberry leaf tea, said Amy, tastes like a black tea with a hint of fruit.

Amy has now returned to Ledbury to start the online tea company ‘Nela-Nela’, which is Georgian for ‘slowly slowly’. She is importing these unique fruit leaf teas directly from Georgian tea makers.

“It’s been a big adventure getting to this point,” says Amy. “I never expected tea to be the reason I would return home, but I’m really excited to share the wonderful country of Georgia with the UK.





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