By Leona Kusa
So Lah Tea, well known for her role as New York’s finest tea purveyor, has graced Kusa’s “The Elevated Happy Hour” consistently for over a year. As I recollect the privilege to work, grow, and thrive alongside the fellow self-made canna-mom, the memories that come to mind are all examples of her top tier luxury experience. Between her fine and freshly made teas paired with her phenomenal service, she is a role model for deep rooted passion in a craft where her intention is to help others.
So Lah Tea, or Tea for short, is in high demand all over New York wellness and nightlife, providing consumers with natural sourced teas infused with her legendary RSO honey. A profession that started from her Paraguayan origins of herbal medicine has now transformed to the legacy known Teatime.
“It’s something you just learn through your family. It’s passed down in Paraguay, herbal medicine. Your grandma or aunts just tell you how to make shit and what it’s for. Like Yerba Mate*was a staple in our household. It’s the first thing my grandmother would drink when she woke up, and she’s now 98!”. Tea explained as her tone began to slow.
The movie about Tea would result in tears for the viewers. She is a woman who has experienced a lot of hardships while sustaining as a guiding light for herself and her child. She is an example of strength, resilience, and power.
“The whole reason I got into tea was to help my father” Tea gleamed with an energy I can only describe as empowered.
Tea’s father, a hard-working Chilean with “hippie” tendencies,was a man she idolized her whole life. A person who displayedwork ethic and strength until he ultimately passed on due to Multiple Sclerosis (or MS). MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord otherwise known as the central nervous system. Everyone’s experience with the disease is different and the effects could be temporary or long lasting. The cause is unknown and there is no published cure (Mayo Clinic, 2023).
“This was a serious disease that just paralyzed him. He went through a lot of pain and could never sleep because he was always screaming. Do you know what its like to hear a grown man just scream? It’s horrible.”
For 15 years, Tea was concocting different herbal teas for her father in hopes of healing and easing his pain, all while hustling for her family working two jobs. “I was the girl in the scrubs always trapping on the side” Tea chuckled with her boss attitude.
Growing up in a home centered around herbal remedies and a sick father, Tea became interested in medicine early on. She attended nursing school and landed a position at Lenox Hill; but being the breadwinner, she needed more to provide.
Tea was a part of the original cannabis delivery dispatch service in New York City; A now rinse and repeated model but at the time was highly illegal. A business that started decades ago in which a driver would go into customer’s homes with a large Pelican roll-out case filled with all types of THC products like edibles, carts, and flower. “They made a movie about the owner!” She giggled. This, however, was another firsthand professional experience when she watched an herb help heal people.
One day the screams became too much, her father’s pain hit a new level, and she knew it was time to introduce cannabis. “I said fuck it lets smoke! After three days of straight screaming, we went against my mom’s wishes and smoked. He immediatelywent quiet and finally slept.” This was the moment Tea started infusing all her father’s teas. As a “trapper” she watched it improve the lives of countless people with pain and wanted to help improve his remaining quality of life.
So Lah Tea has practiced and perfected her remedies with her father utilizing an RSO oil and now is committed to helping others in his honor. She uses the same recipes today.
RSO oil (or Rick Simpson Oil) was made famous by Canadian Engineer, Rick Simpson who miraculously recovered from cancer using this same extraction method. RSO, put simply, is an oil extracted from the whole cannabis flower containing allits original cannabinoids, terpenes, and additional compounds that qualify the plant for medical use. This is a longer and more complex process than the course for THC concentrates(Leafly.com, 2023).
“RSO, Tea and honey are a crazy powerhouse” Tea educated me confidently.
So Lah Tea, sources all of her cannabis flower utilizing New York’s elite small-batch cultivators which results in some of the finest RSO extraction. Her combined RSO oil, locally sourced honey and ancestorial herbal tea blends has gained her immense respect and success in helping those with all levels of pain. She has secured a resident position at Kusa Collective and has been catering to our members of all ages and their specific needs. We have first handedly watched her change lives of many.
NOW due to popular demand – you can take So Lah Tea home 😉.
The Fall Harvest Blend is what Tea described as “a mix of medicinal flowers” to promote overall wellness with intention. This was a recipe passed down to her with healing properties in each ingredient.
“Herbal medicine comes from indigenous times and I’m just here continuing the tradition.” – So Lah Tea, 2023
You can follow So Lah Tea on Instagram @So_Lah_Tea or always find her at a @KusaCollective event.
*Yerba Mate is a south American drink that is said to have the strength of coffee, health benefits of tea, and the joy of chocolate. Yerba mate is an herbal tea made from the leaves and stems of the Ilex paraguariensis plant (healthline.com/nutrition, 2023).