Victoria’s innovative Avooq launches latest product via crowdfunding campaign

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On a cold day, there’s nothing better than a cup of fresh herbal tea to warm up your hands and your spirits. While most of us reach for a tea bag, a business based in Gembrook in the lush surrounds of the Victorian Dandenong Ranges, wants to change this and has developed a new product so that we can all experience the benefit of true tisane.

Health conscious tea lovers can enjoy fresh tea on the run with the innovative two piece mug called Freetii, designed by 29 year old Neil Strohbeck, a young product engineer who owns the burgeoning small business Avooq

Strohbeck became fascinated with fresh herbal tea after suffering digestive issues in 2011. Required to have a bowel x-ray, endoscopy, blood tests, and numerous specialist consultations, he was prescribed Nexium and IBS Support amongst other things, but found none had any effect.

After watching Aussie Netflix hit ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’ he was inspired by Joe Cross’s commitment to taking health matters into his own hands and began experimenting with a range of fresh tea leaf infusions to improve his health. This involved even swapping regular beer consumption for tea, even when his mates came over to drink and watch the football.

“I was making herbal tea from fresh ingredients and I found a problem in the fact that the oils and juices were left in the mortar and I couldn’t get those oils and juices out in an effective manner and transfer those into my tea,” said Strohbeck.

When he found fresh leaf herbal tea was helping, drawing on his degree in product design engineering at Swinburne University of Technology, he decided to start work on a revolutionary two piece mug design – Freetii – which is designed to make loose leaf herbal tea, fresh leaf herbal tea and iced tea, and which allows tea sippers to start their travels while the tea is still infusing.

“I saw that problem of getting the oil and the juice from the mortar into my tea mug and I really saw that as there was no effective way of doing it and it was my desire to resolve that issue that led me down the path of designing Freetii.”

“The continuous steeping design holds the tea leaves in the bottom portion of the mug continuously while the top portion is filtered ready for you to enjoy at any time,” said Strohbeck.

Apart from the health benefits, it is widely regarded in the tea industry that loose leaf tea has a better flavour than bagged tea, particularly whole loose leaf tea.

“This can be attributed to three main reasons. Bagged tea is usually made from low tea grades, such as dust and fannings which have a larger surface area than whole leaves. The larger surface area allows the flavour containing oils to evaporate.

Secondly, bagged tea is usually a mixed blend from various sources and regions, whereas whole leaf tea is usually a specialty tea from a specific region. And finally the conventional bag limits the infusion because of the restricted area that the tea is contained within. By using the whole loose leaf tea in Freetii, people will enjoy a more refined flavour with better health benefits,” he said.

He believes the product will be most of interest to the health conscious and those who like sustainable products, “The portable mug which can be used over and over minimises waste and therefore impact on the environment, and also features acacia wood which provides a fast-growing renewable wood source.”

Choosing an alternative launch method, units are selling via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which will launch on 19 July.

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is a contributing small business writer for Kochie's Business Builders.