Buckwheat tea – like walking on sunshine

Jie (Jade) Tang was on the lookout for a product that would launch her into her own business when on a trip to China, to visit family and friends, she discovered buckwheat tea – a gluten free, wheat free and caffeine free seed that is packed with proven nutrition and extremely versatile because it can be used as a tea, cereal, protein powder and for baking.

“I thought it tasted really, really good and because it is a tartaric buckwheat it only grows in China, on mountain slopes more than 2,000 metres above sea level. But best of all it is a super food that has multiple applications – cook with it, bake it, drink it… you can even eat the seeds when you’ve finished your cup of tea. It’s exactly the kind of product to build a long term, sustainable business on,” Jie says.

A growing body of research is finding that buckwheat tea is shown to relieve symptoms of Type II diabetes, and is one of the richest sources of rutin, which helps strengthen capillary walls, improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fat.

“It is very good for you, but I also wanted the brand to be young, happy and full of energy. I am extremely happy with the process and the results of the branding, graphic design and copywriting for the packaging, website and brochures,” she says.

Jie chose the name Kooljoy both because it describes youth and happiness, but also because the word sounds like kugiao, the Chinese name for buckwheat. “I think of sunshine when I see it,” Jie says.

GardyneHOLT’s graphic designer Eleanor Parsons created the brand.

“It was important that New Zealanders both recognise and accept the benefits of a product that is foreign to most Kiwis. The brand was designed to be modern, fresh and reassuring because it is such a new product, and people may be hesitant to buy something they know nothing about. We needed people to be willing to try it,” Eleanor says.

A fan of the product herself, Eleanor says they did a lot of research on other teas and similar products.

“We found most tea packaging tends to be dark and florally, so we went for something that reflected the sunny slopes where the seeds originate. I think we accomplished that with the various shades of orange and yellow we chose, and that is also reflected in the copy we used with descriptions such as ‘sunny aroma and slightly sweet, mildly nutty flavour’.

However the brand also had to be versatile, like the product, to accommodate future applications such as gluten free flour and cereals.

“There is a fun, playful element to the graphics where you see the buckwheat seeds sinking to the bottom as they’re supposed to do,” Eleanor says.

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