About us

Headquarters at The Nail Factory Creative Campus in the Woods, Nevada City, CA

Inspired by global traditions, NIUKA Tea is an entrepreneurial business for an emergent culture. We create original tea formulas using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, combining standout flavors with powerful health benefits. Our teas are designed to help regulate stress, detoxify the body and maintain that ever-shifting sweet spot of relaxed vitality and inspired focus.

Warrior's Heart Yoga Retreat, Joshua Tree, CA, 2015.

Warrior's Heart Yoga Retreat, Joshua Tree, CA.

For us, offering fine teas, is akin to dropping humanitarian aid into the fray of our modern grind. Our “parachute” logo was created to reflect this philosophy and our name was inspired by ancient Chinese creation mythology. NIUKA was a goddess who blended the five universal elements in her magic cauldron to create a rainbow pillar that served as a bridge between Earth and Sky, Matter and Spirit. She used this bridge to repair the broken universe that had been shattered by gods warring for dominion.

Art opening for Monica Canilao at Subliminal Art Gallery in Los Angeles.

NIUKA is dedicated to the craft and purveyance of adaptogenic tea formulas that help us reconnect to our bodies, to our minds, to our environment... and to each other. 

We believe that tea is not only a healing medicine - it is a shared experience and solitary rite - a ceremony that encourages both community and self-reflection; acceptance and adaptation. It is the holistic combination of these experiences that NIUKA facilitates, through the offering of fine teas and special events.   

Based out of California’s Sierra foothills region, NIUKA Tea is available to wholesale and retail customers across the country, while our nomadic tea lounge makes its way to special events across Nevada County and the Greater Bay Area.

ABOUT NIUKA FOUNDER ALEXANDER FRIEND:

NIUKA Tea founder Alexander Friend was raised with a love of cozy spaces and a deep value for holistic wellness. "Throughout childhood," Friend remembers, "there were always candles, books, music and tea. My grandmother drank cod liver oil and would blend spearmint with peppermint, or chamomile and fennel teas for me when I was sick."

Friend would eventually find his own path to formulating, purveying and presenting fine teas, through adventure and exploration, research and experience. As he traveled from the Great Lakes to the West Coast, he would add Reiki, CranioSacral, Tui Na Chinese massage and Kung Fu to his daily practice.

At the same time, he began to delve into the world of tea by preparing, brewing, and serving at legendary underground Bay Area teahouse, Om Shan Tea. “I was trained to serve in the gong fu cha style of Chinese tea ceremony, using small pots, decanting pitchers and tasting cups,” explains Friend of his experience at the tea house. “I served from a low tea bar, where customers would gather around on small stools in a communal setting.”

Through this and other revelatory experiences across the Western states, Friend began to see clearly the connection between tea ceremony, integrative medicines and contemporary American culture. “The flavors, effects and rituals of tea are as diverse as there are plants and human cultures on this planet. It’s so indelibly human; this ancient practice of infusing water with fruits of the earth.”

 

 “Ultimately, I fell in love with the way tea provides a sense of place, where we can come to ourselves and our surroundings in a way that empowers us to settle, connect and just be real.” Friend learned that Western medical studies have continually found that the overproduction of cortisol is not only rampant and generally detrimental to quality of life, but also a major root cause of leading fatal dis-eases, (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes), it became clear to him that adaptogenic herbs - which help to regulate cortisol and other stress hormone levels- would be an integral part of his formulas.

Using only organic, sustainably grown ingredients from well-vetted and trusted sources, Friend chose Ashwaganda, Astragalus and Codonopsis as the core of adaptogenic herbs for his first official tea formula. He paired these with a variety of herbs with eye-opening flavors and their own complementary health benefits, including sarsaparilla, hibiscus and rose petal.

The final result? NIUKA Tea’s debut tisane, Formula No.1: Daily Balance - the first of the brand’s potent, flavorful offerings.

“The most rewarding aspect of this career path,” Friend explains, “is the role we get to play in strengthening the social fabric, sharing cups of tea with thousands of people across the land. Elaborate ceremonies, casual get-togethers, on the go, in the workplace, or in the solitude of your own sanctuary - NIUKA tea adapts to your style, your flavor, your needs.”