Updated: Jul 3
Get to know your local Louisiana tea farmer, Hans Marchese.
When you meet Hans for the first time you might be surprised that he is a tea maker. A tall guy, young and almost looks like he is the lead singer of a popular 90’s rock band like Pearl Jam. When you get to talking to him though, that surprise fades and you will think there is no doubt this man is a tea maker and has a passion for tea. He will break into tea science and use words that will have you asking Google what that word means. All of that is then nicely packaged with his natural kindness and friendliness.
Hans' friendly and outgoing personality makes him a wonderful ambassador at the Fleur De Lis Tea company for many reasons. First, he is so incredibly willing to share with people who visit the tea house, his passion for tea. Second, his ability to lead an engaging tea tour is outstanding. His energy is contagious. He is genuinely curious, he wants to know more about people. His presentation style is vibrant and energetic. At times funny and always 100% genuine.
A self described renaissance man, he likes to dabble in a lot of things. Biology, music, gardening, business, and of course tea.
When you ask Hans about his love for tea the response is not one of money or business but that he loves that tea is universal. Tea is its own open community of sharing. It brings people together. It is inclusive and synergistic (a Hans word).
He gives me an example of how he sees tea as inclusive. His friend with Cerebral Palsy who cannot go out to bars or do as many things as others, can be included with tea. Or those who don’t drink alcohol and are still looking for a place to have a drink and socialize can be included with tea.
Hans sees tea as a constructive habit vs destructive. Tea allows you to be social and have fun with others in a healthier way.
Hans journey to tea maker is an interesting one.
At age 24 Hans was introduced to a wider range of teas by the owner of West China Tea in Austin, Texas. There the retailer taught Hans a lot about the history of Chinese teas. This inspired Hans to start his own tea retailing business. He began selling tea at small events and venues.
Then Covid came along. Events were not happening and moving his tea was not working.
Hans had to adapt to support his household. This brought him to working at a pig farm. Little did he know this pig farm would eventually lead him to his dream job. Hired by the owner Grant at Laughing Buddha Nursery in Metairie, Louisiana. Hans was working to survive, not live his passion. But he took it in stride and embraced his love for dabbling in many things.
While there, at some point, he revealed his passion for tea to his boss, Grant.
A simple release of information led to a chain of events that would take Hans towards his passion.
Grant informed Hans that he ran a composting course and a man named David Barron who was starting a tea farm attended. He connected the two and Hans was eventually hired by David as a personal gardener for the Fleur De Lis Tea Company.
(Hans Marchese (left) and Fleur De Lis Tea Company owner David Barron (Right).
In Hans' first few years at the Fleur De Lis Tea farm he was focused on gardens and not tea. He was David’s personal veggie grower. The tea was planted but young. Too young to harvest so he was given other projects.
Then to develop his tea skills Hans would connect with The Great Mississippi Tea Company which even today continues to collaborate with Hans and the Fleur De Lis Tea team. The Great Mississippi Tea Company recommended Beverly Wainwright of the Scottish Tea Factory to Hans and the team and in 2022 Beverly made the journey from Scotland to Amite, Louisiana to school the team on tea.
Now Beverly is a story of her own. We have shared her amazing background and expertise on tea in our blog write up here. But the short of it, she is what many in the industry describe as a tea goddess. With a great deal of experience in starting up and running a successful tea business. She knows tea and great quality. She is a master.
Beverly put Hans through her own version of tea university. This is where Hans would learn her meticulous systems and how to properly turn a leaf into a fine cup of tea. Her time with Hans and the team would be intense, there is a lot to learn in a short period of time.
Beverly has since returned to Scotland but her legacy lives on through Hans who consistently follows her practices.
Tea making is not easy. Many people do not realize what goes into making a cup of tea. You spend all day plucking and then have to process the tea, this process requires adhering to a strict schedule of steps from rolling to drying and everything in between and beyond. After the tea is done you have half the weight you started with in order to make a few bags of some of the best Louisiana grown tea. It is all worth it though.
If you ask Hans what he is most excited about for the future of tea at Fleur De Lis Tea Company he will tell you he is so happy to play a part in a product that has so many positives tied to it.
(Hans marchese plucking tea)
Hans appreciates the fact that tea is inclusive and universal. That it is a healthy habit and it brings people together.
Tea slows people down in a day and age when we are all moving so fast. Hans takes pride in being able to bring tea to Louisiana without having to ship it in containers overseas. He sees this tea as the tea right next door.
Hans first tea is available in stores called "Big Easy". In collaboration with Beverly Wainwright this tea has been met with outstanding customer feedback and love. The tea was even picked by Harney & Sons in New York.
Hans next tea project, also a collaboration, is coming soon so stay tuned.
It is truly an experience to meet Hans and to get a sense of his enthusiasm for tea. You can do this by attending any of his tea tours and tastings. To find out when he is leading the next event visit our events page.
All of us at Fleur De Lis Tea Company recognize just how lucky we are to have a Hans tea master on our team, both for his gentle soul and passion for tea. He is most certainly at the heart of our tea.