What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is taking something that’s considered waste and repurposing it. The upcycled item often becomes more functional or beautiful than what it previously was. That’s why it’s called upcycling, because the value of the item is increased!

For example:

• Decorating a tin can and turning it into an elegant 
• Stretching out a wire clothes hanger then tying strips of a plastic bag around it to make a wreath.

Recycling vs. Upcycling

Recycling and Upcycling have different processes. Recycling takes consumer materials — usually plastic, metal, glass or paper — and breaks them down so they can be made into a new consumer product. This downcycling is an essential step in the recycling process, but it does degrade the quality of the material. 

Upcycling is a creative process where waste is looked at as a resource. In this process the material is not being broken down and made into something new, but the original material is in fact kept allowing for an upcycled item with the same or better quality.

Both recycling and upcycling are important as they reuse materials instead of tossing them in the waste bin. Less landfill waste has a positive impact on the environment and something we strive to uphold at NEMI Teas. 

How can you upcycle our NEMI products?

Firstly, it time to get out your creative hat!! Anybody can upcycle, especially when you are given such a great resource like our food-grade tube in which our teas are packaged in! Whether you decide to transform this tube into a pen-stand, a convenient place to hold your tooth or paint brushes, or even a hanging wall decoration, the ideas are limitless. This is the perfect lazy Sunday activity when relaxing around the house, or the times when you are feeling a bit imaginative. 


It’s time to brew your favourite cup of our flavourful teas and get creative! :)




• NEMI Teas Spicy Chai Syrup (http://www.nemiteas.com/shop/spicy-chai-syrup)

• Lots of ice

• Milk - your choice :)

Directions for 2 glasses

• Smash a lot of ice into a glass.

• Add 4 tablespoons (or 60ml) of the NEMI Teas Spicy Chai syrup into the glass with ice-cubs and top it up with milk.

• Stir the iced chai so that the chai syrup is mixed evenly throughout the glass.

• Enjoy your delightful Iced Chai from NEMI Teas!



At NEMI Teas, we only offer tea bags that are decomposable and compostable. With tea being one of the most popular drinks across the UK, each biodegradable bag matters. Here at NEMI Teas we pride ourselves on being impact driven and look to create positive change throughout all aspects of our business.

With the use of our biodegradable tea bags we hope to provide our customers with the best tasting tea at little cost to our environment. The biodegradable tea bags found at NEMI Teas will not alter the taste of your tea in the slightest - it will taste as heavenly as always!

English Breakfast teabag

What’s the material we use?
Our pyramid tea bags are made from soilon - a mesh material constructed from polylactic acid and derived from starch. Even the string and labels are both attached using ultrasound rather than glue! To read more about Soilon, click here

How to dispose of them?
In every day terms, you can dispose of them however you like. But the teabags will degrade quickest if you pop them in the compost heap.

How long does it take to biodegrade?
In compost, your teabags are going to have degrade within a month. In less favourable conditions, like water, you’re looking at around 6 months so make sure you stick it in the compost! And to those who’re wondering what it degrades to - our pyramid teabags convert to nothing but CO2 and water! Magic.

How can I assure I am getting a 100% biodegradable product?
The main component to this is to make sure that the company you are purchasing your tea from clearly states that their tea is biodegradable or plastic free. Products will usually have this on their packaging, blog or can be easily found on their websites. Likewise, if you dare, there’s a fun and easy way to check. Generally, organic matter burns. If you want to test if something is biodegradable, simply light it. If it burns, it’s biodegradable. If it melts, it’s plastic!

NEMI Earl Grey Loaf

Here at NEMI Teas, we always like to shout as loud as we can about the ingredients we put into our tea blends. Every one of our tea blends are Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified, which are two organisations we are extremely proud to be associated with. Every so often we like to celebrate our sustainable teas with a cake of sorts. We are not just talking about any old cake but a cake flavoured with one of our tea blends.

So, which blend is it this time you ask?

Well, you’ve probably already guessed from the large ‘Earl Grey Loaf’ title above, that we are going to be using our NEMI Earl Grey blend. Fashioned in our lovely purple tubes that you may have seen knocking around in your local deli or farm shop, our Earl Grey blend is going to be infused into a delicious tea loaf. This recipe is so simple and easy to make, you can do it in the morning before you go to work or make it when you get back for an afternoons relax.

NEMI Earl Grey Loaf.jpg


Makes 1 Large Loaf, Serves 6


  • 3 NEMI Earl Grey teabags

  • 300ml water

  • 270g self-raising flour

  • 320g Dried fruit

  • 100g Light muscovado sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground mixed spices

  • 1 Free Range egg, lightly beaten

  • Sea salt, pinch

  • 2 Lemons, zested

  • Butter, greasing

  • Icing sugar to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to around 170C. Cover each side of the loaf tin with a greasing of butter and then place a layer of baking parchment on. Set aside.

  2. Place 300ml of boiled water into a saucepan and place on a simmer.

  3. Add the 3 NEMI Earl Grey teabags in the simmering water and wait for around 3 to 4 minutes to brew. Remove teabags and recycle appropriately.

  4. Remember our NEMI teabags are 100% compostable!

  5. Place the dried fruit – any raisins, sultanas, currants and fruit peel – into the brewed tea and simmer for a couple of minutes to soak in.

  6. Add the light muscovado and simmer for another minute, then remove from heat to cool.

  7. Stir the ingredients – flour, mixed spices, salt and lemon zest – into a separate bowl and mix.

  8. Add the lightly beaten egg and the ingredients in (6.) all into the cooled tea/fruit mixture. 

  9. Pour mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes. Every 5 minutes, check with a clean sharp knife to test the centre. If the knife is clean when you have pulled it from the centre of the cake it’s done.

  10. Turn out and cool the loaf on a rack for 10 minutes.

  11. Sprinkle icing sugar over before cutting it into bar shaped pieces.


We love this NEMI Earl Grey tea loaf with either a cup of our Earl Grey blend on the side or a Spicy Chai iced tea for a real hit of tea!

We always want to know what you get up to with your NEMI Teas, simply #NEMITeas or tag us @nemiteas.

5 Reasons To Choose Loose-leaf Tea Over Teabags


Tea bag, or not tea bag, that is the question.

We live in a world where we are fortunate enough to be able to lay our hands on a huge number of tea flavours. But do we really know our loose-leaf from our teabag? We’ve all been there, standing in front of a huge wall of boxed teas on the supermarket shelf confused at the sheer number and variety to choose from that we don’t know where to start. Oolong or Jasmine? Chai or Rooibos? Loose-leaf or teabag?  

Well, perhaps taste is of personal preference but where we can help is explaining 5 reasons why you should choose loose-leaf tea over teabags:

1. Genuine Product.

Tea is a product made from the harvested leaves of the tea bush, a variety of the Camellia plant family. It is then dried and allotted into four different grades: leaf, broken-leaf, fannings and dust. Loose-leaf tea, which is often hand-produced, is a product that consists solely of the two highest grades, leaf and broken-leaf that gives you the genuine profile of the tea. What you would normally find in a commercially made teabag, however, are the two lowest grades, mainly fannings and dust that doesn’t provide the true profile of the tea nor its wonderful colour.

2. Flavour.

In any plant, the leaves are where you would find the most flavour, and tea is no different. The greater amount of leaf you have the greater the flavour profile you’ll have with the end product. Hence, by using loose-leaf tea, the notes and aromas are maximised for a true flavour of the particular tea variety you choose, whilst using teabags with a lower grade of leaf lack any genuine flavour of the tea variety.

3. Sustainable.

Our loose-leaf tea at Nemi is sourced sustainably in accordance with Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance. This means that we are part of a network that supports the farmers, environment and biodiversity, where the tea is grown and harvested. Not only is the product sustainable, our packaging using biodegradable and compostable bags and ultrasound to replace any need for plastic. Many teabags, on the other hand, use PVC or polypropylene that helps to maintain the structure of the teabag during the brewing process and therefore cannot be easily recycled.

4. Tradition.

The tradition of brewing loose-leaf tea has been something we have done for thousands of years. It was only really in the last 20th Century that commercialism bulldozed its way in and replaced the loose-leaf with the easily accessible and widespread teabag for a quick fix. Here at Nemi Teas, we want to maintain traditional methods of brewing loose-leaf tea so it’s not lost for the next generation of tea lovers.

5. Ritual.

Our lives are increasingly being filled with more and more things to do, deadlines to meet, people to visit and places to see. Nowadays, with our fast-paced lives, much of the food and drink we consume – including the teabag – has been refined and processed to keep up with it all. However, brewing loose-leaf tea is a ritual that cannot be rushed. It is the act of steeping the tealeaves in hot water and the resultant aromas that forcibly slows you down. It allows one to relax, which invariably is a good thing in this fast-moving world we live in. As we know, tea is more than just a drink it is an allocated time in the day that we want to keep as long as possible.  

So next time you’re in front of a wall of tea at the supermarket why not choose the loose-leaf variety over the teabag and take time over your brewing to get the full impact of its flavour. Don’t leaf it any longer!

Launch of two new NEMI blends


Our Sencha is a delicate steamed green tea with a mild taste and attractive softness that sets it apart from the more commonly-seen roasted green teas. We source our teas from the hills of Zhejiang province in the east of China where the August heat and hillside mists create an ideal tea-growing environment. 

We have also captured this delicately leafed Sencha in biodegradable tea pyramids to give you a rich cup of green tea, with a continual but gentle breath of smooth sweetness.

Green Sencha


Our peppermint tea is a carefully-assembled blend of European, Egyptian and American peppermint designed to give a blast of refreshing minty coolness. The blend harnesses the renowned green freshness of American-grown peppermint but builds upon it with the more intense and darker notes of European and Egyptian mints. 

We have also captured our refreshing peppermint leaf tea in biodegradable tea pyramids to give you a great way to round off an evening meal.

muna peppermint.jpg

The Art of Brewing Chai at Home

Chai time

The pot is bubbling. Hot steam is escaping through the nostril of the kettle. A gurgling sound tells you it's time. Tea time.

Whether it’s part of your morning routine, you’ve invited friends over for high tea, or you’re relaxing with a hot cup of chai during a movie night - making tea at home is a daily ritual most of us (especially in Britain) have adopted.

Nowadays, making tea is easy and convenient. Throw a teabag in cup, pour over hot water, add milk. You can do the same with chai. But don’t you find that tea made at home just can’t quite keep up with proper chai you have tasted at our stall or during your travels?

There is a real art to brewing chai at home. The proper way of brewing ensures that you achieve that authentic burst of flavour, the creamy, milky texture, and that blissful satisfaction in each sip. But how do you do it?

Don’t despair, we won’t leave you hanging! Our chai recipe has been passed down and developed from generation to generation. We make sure that you will be able to brew your tea just like the Chaiwallahs do on roadsides of Delhi.

Ram tossing up some chai at the local markets in Old Delhi, India.

Ram tossing up some chai at the local markets in Old Delhi, India.

What you need

  • Tea cup, strainer/infuser if preferred

  • One of our tea blends

  • Cold water

  • Milk (cow, soy, almond etc.)

Option 1: Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy...Just without the lemon

Place a teaspoon per person into a tea cup, add freshly drawn boiling water, and brew for five minutes. Add milk and sugar according to taste. You can use a strainer or infuser to avoid residual tea blend.

Option 2: Impress your Indian mother in law

Put four teaspoons of the blend into half a litre of boiling water and let it boil for five minutes. Add 250ml of milk and sweeten with sugar. If you prefer honey, add it at the very end. Bring it to a boil again and then take off heat and let sit for five minutes. Pour through a strainer and serve four cups of delicious chai.

Voila! Your perfect cup of chai.

Nemi - A Spicy Enterprise

Our Story

It’s early morning. Your sleepy eyes are slowly opening to embrace the new day. Left leg out, right leg out - sitting position achieved. A big stretch, you’re ready to stand up now. Stumbling into the kitchen, you turn on the kettle to boil hot water. Ceylon, Assam, Chai - what’s it going to be today?

A cup of tea in the morning is such an integral part of waking up, that we almost don’t realise we’re pouring it. It has become habit, a key ritual in British lifestyle. But what if it could be so much more?

It can. We want to make tea more than a steaming cup of goodness. Our tea blends are special - and refugee empowerment is our specialty. Nemi is a social purpose business focused on rebuilding refugee lives by creating employment opportunities selling exquisite tea across the UK.

Our 3 chai blends: Masala chai, Ginger chai and Cardamom chai.

Our 3 chai blends: Masala chai, Ginger chai and Cardamom chai.

You can come say “hi” in London markets, sip a cup of our tea in a cafe near you, or place orders online to create some magic at home. Our teas are hand-blended and hand-packed by refugees. It is our vision to set up a franchise of tea stalls across food markets in the UK that are run and eventually owned by refugees.

So what does this opportunity mean for them?

Ayman from Damascus, Syria brewing some chai at Venn Street markets, Clapham Common, London.

Ayman from Damascus, Syria brewing some chai at Venn Street markets, Clapham Common, London.

Social Inclusion

Humans are social beings. We want to belong to a community. Being forced to leave your home - whether for economic, political, or safety reasons - means you are losing that community. Finding yourself in a new country with a different language and customs is scary. You feel alone, excluded, and lost.

Talking to customers, making tea, and socialising creates a new sense of belonging. Communicating across cultures over a cup of hot chai brings an ease to the situation, where both sides realise that in the end, they belong to the same tribe.



Employment translates into independence. On one hand, working creates a sense of purpose. On the other hand, financial remuneration can help make a big difference in quality of life. Government support is limited to less than £65 per week. A sense of purpose, and the ability to support yourself translates into more independence and freedom.

Language Skills

The language barrier is one of the biggest limitations to integration and social inclusion. Have you ever been on holiday, gotten lost, tried to ask for directions, and found that no one can understand you? Imagine if you experienced this every day.

Refugee access to language learning classes in the UK is not guaranteed. Working at the stall brewing tea, a common practise across many cultures, offers a safe and encouraging environment to practise English.


All of the above come together to build confidence. After exhausting journeys, constant conflict and survival situations, and loss of loved ones and belongings, it is no surprise that there is no energy left to build a new life. Being able to provide for oneself, being part of a community, and learning a new language is a great start to regaining a sense of self.

Ahmad from Iraq serving up some freshly brewed cardamom chai!

Ahmad from Iraq serving up some freshly brewed cardamom chai!


Our new team members, in charge of the tea stalls, are doing everything they can to contribute to society. They want to integrate, they want to work, and they want to be part of their new home. Making an effort and not completely relying on state provision deserves and earns respect from locals. Refugees themselves are empowered to change the negative discourse surrounding them.


So next time you turn on the kettle to brew a cup of tea, make it count - drink a Nemi blend!

Nemi Superstars

Becoming a CommuniTEA

It has already been quite a special year for us!

Risky Business - Going Full-time

Starting in January 2017, our founder Pranav made the leap, leaving his consulting job to go full time with Nemi. The social enterprise is not just a ‘thing on the side’ anymore, but a full-blown business. A livelihood. A mission.

TEAming Up

In line with the motto of “We’re all in this together,” Pranav brought Anuj on board. Bonding over common Indian heritage, the two are the perfect duo to deliver authentic chai to the London food scene. Anuj brings sales and distribution expertise as he has previous experience launching beverage startups. His never-ending motivation to spread the word and win over new accounts has him making the rounds in London cafes, always on the lookout for new stockists.

But how do these two stay on track? Tasks take longer than expected, get lost in ever increasing to-do lists, or are parked until sometime in the never quite definite “future.” That’s why we have Sally. She is the much needed (very positive) kick-in-the-butt that keeps the team focused and motivated.

And finally there is Anna. Anna posts pictures of pancakes on Instagram, and laughs at her own captions. Sometimes she is so proud of her Boomerang videos, that her own views make up 20% of overall traffic.

Pranav, Anuj and Sally rocking it up at the Social Impact Careers Conference at Said Business School, Oxford, UK.

Pranav, Anuj and Sally rocking it up at the Social Impact Careers Conference at Said Business School, Oxford, UK.

Anwar from Sudan brewing up some chai at the markets.

Anwar from Sudan brewing up some chai at the markets.

Settling Down

Nemi now has an official headquarters. Situated in the buzzing neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, City University of London has generously welcomed the team to their LaunchLab co-working space. Surrounded by other young entrepreneurs, the team is working day-in and day-out to help refugees make their transition to London life easier.

Growing the Family

Our current focus is to serve fresh chai in more food markets around London, see our chai blends and chai syrup at more independent cafes around the UK, and solidify partnerships with refugee bodies to better scale our social impact.  

Already this year, we’ve served tea at 4 TEDx conferences and the Social Impact Careers Conference at the Said Business School in Oxford. We’re at the Venn Street Market in Clapham every Saturday. And finally, you can find our chai in 17 independent cafes.

We have so far worked with 6 refugees from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, and Bangladesh. These team members report that they enjoy selling tea with us because of the opportunity to practise their English language skills, meet all kinds of customers, and earn a fair wage for their work.

We will keep you updated with inspiring stories about our new team members, and let you know how they are getting on. So keep an eye out for future Nemi updates and stories on how everything is going. Until next time!