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Market Spotlight: Jamaica Tea Company

Meet the people at your local farmers market.

Business: Jamaica Tea

Owner: Peter Hackett

Website: www.jamaicatea.com

Peter Hackett’s wife was six months pregnant with the couple’s second child and his family was in financial turmoil. The Internet company he started up with family savings failed, and he was left with two choices: Work for someone else or begin a new chapter of his life and follow a dream.

While eating at a local taqueria with his wife, Peter tasted a drink called “Jamaica" (pronounced 'Ha-MY-Ka'), a traditional Mexican drink made with Hibiscus flowers).

One sip and he was hooked. 

When Peter began to look for this newfound drink, he could not find it in a ready-to-pour variety at any store. So, Peter began making his own and selling it at local events and food fairs. Right away, Peter noticed that customers pronounced Jamaica just as it sounded, not using the Spanish pronunciation, which is how Jamaica Tea Company’s name eventually evolved.

How does Peter measure success? There is a clear order to success in his mind: Money, time, and happiness. A business must be profitable yet still enable the owner to spend quality time with his family, which then results in overall happiness.

“For me, spending time with my family makes me happy, and my passion (which also makes me happy) is growing a successful business by developing new products, connecting with customers, and improving operations," Peter said.

Jamaica Tea Company sells freshly made tea and coffee beverages, often brewed just hours before going to each farmer’s market, making it the freshest ready-to-drink beverage available. They brew their coffee and tea without preservatives or citric acid and use only the finest and freshest organic ingredients. 

All of their beverages are gluten free, vegan, and non-dairy. Varieties include Original Jamaica Tea, Energy Mojito Mate’, Coffee Now!, Iced Coffee With Soymilk, and Iced Mocha With Soymilk.           

Jamaica Tea Company sells their product at two farmer’s markets each week, both in San Ramon. One thing that makes Peter successful at farmer’s markets is his ability to attract customers, noting that at the market 50 percent is product and 50 percent is personality, meaning the ability to talk with customers, get them to his booth to try his etas, and then get them hooked on what they’ve tried. 

This is not an easy skill to possess, being both entrepreneur and engaging spokesperson!

Peter specifically chooses the Thursday and Saturday San Ramon farmers markets because they are run by competent managers who are constantly trying to expand and improve the market each and every week. 

Peter knows that the innovative management of markets means that ultimately, more customers will come and he’ll be able to sell more tea to a broader spectrum of clientele.

An added benefit of selling at markets instead of stores is that customers get the freshest product out there, one that hasn’t been sitting on store shelves or in trucks waiting to be delivered to stores.

So, next time you are at the artisan farmer’s market on Thursday or Saturday’s market, both housed at Bishop Ranch, stop by for a sample from Jamaica Tea Company. 

Can’t make it to the market? You can also find the five drink varieties at most Whole Foods and some independent grocery stores.

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