Meet the woman behind cocoa teas that have won a Great Taste Award

Rasa is a Sanskrit word with many meanings - taste, essence, sap – the delight of the juiciest juice. And for Ella Young it was the perfect name for her retreats and now her award winning teas. But her teas are far more than just a healthy caffeine-free beverage – for Ella the ritual is as important as the taste.

"I started making teas primarily to have at my retreats,” explains the 28-year-old from Meanwood. "But then a friend said he had a friend who was just starting a branding business and we should work together. I loved what they did. They came up with my logo and then I started researching packaging as I wanted to make sure that everything was environmentally friendly and recyclable – that took a long time. Rasa Teas was born just 18 month ago but in that time Ella has devised five products in her range – the fifth launching today. And her chocolate vanilla infusion has been awarded a coveted Great Taste Award.

"They spent six months looking at what I do and I was so thrilled when the vanilla tea was awarded a Great Taste Award – it is the pinnacle in the world of food and drink and for such a young company and new product to receive one made me very proud. I only use natural ingredients in my teas. The vanilla comes from Madagascar where many product contain vanilla extract mine I only use the natural organic ingredients.”Ella is passionate about what goes into her teas. She tells me about a recent visit to Sri Lanka where she met a cardamom famer and saw his organic crops being grown. “I brought some home and that’s what goes into then Chocolate Chai Cacao Infusion.” Rasa Teas was born out of Ella’s life of yoga and her dedication to a sustainable lifestyle.

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"It is important to me that Rasa Teas reflect the life I lead, I am not prepared to take shortcuts that save time and money but lose the essence of what I want to share. Rasa Teas are an innovative product that re-conceptualise waste, incorporate the finest ingredients and come mindfully packaged in entirely compostable bags,” she explains.

Ella Young runs Rasa Teas which has just been awarded a Great Taste Award.Ella Young runs Rasa Teas which has just been awarded a Great Taste Award.
Ella Young runs Rasa Teas which has just been awarded a Great Taste Award.

Ella says she was always interested in health and well being and what she put s into her body. After university she headed to Australia where she spent the next four years off and on working in health food shops and organic cafes in Byron Bay and Bonsai Beach.

“Australia is the health food mecca,” says Ella. “I also went to Bali where I trained in yoga and worked on different yoga retreats. I learnt so much and met some amazing people.” She also studied Ayurveda seen as the sister science to yoga. “It’s how I live my life every single day – it is so much more than just about food it is a lifestyle choice.”

After leaving Australia she planned to travel Europe in a converted van with her then partner.”But the van broke down in the Arctic Circle and we struggled to afford to fix it.” She went to work on a yoga retreat in France but realised that her money was fast running out. She travelled to Morocco and in 2019 started running her own retreats.

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She runs two types of retreats. The Ella Young retreats are are born out of her love of yoga and tend to be held abroad for mixed sexes. “We immerse ourselves in the culture of the country we are in and of course practise lots of yoga and healthy eating.”

All the teas all blended by Ella Young by hand in a kitchen in Otley.  Picture by Simon HulmeAll the teas all blended by Ella Young by hand in a kitchen in Otley.  Picture by Simon Hulme
All the teas all blended by Ella Young by hand in a kitchen in Otley. Picture by Simon Hulme

The Rasa Retreats are more about looking inwards and are for women only. “It is all about slowing things down, introspection and connecting with your senses. We practice meditation and different rituals and they are normally held here in Yorkshire. I held one around the Summer solstice and have one planned for May in the Yorkshire Dales entitled Full Moon Full Bloom.” This is where the idea for Rasa Teas came about.

Cacao ceremonies have been around for thousands of years, originating all the way back to Mayan and Aztec traditions in Central and South America, used for spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes for inner awakening and creative guidance.

Pure cacao is used as a heart opening medicine for people to safely experience awakening, revelation and inner healing. Cacao is used in a sacred medicinal ritual, where intentions are set and once consumed, euphoric states are unlocked, negative emotions are released and we are able to connect to ourselves and the loving energy in our body. Cacao forms the basis of Ella’s teas.

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Ella had worked for a Ceremonial Cacoa Company in Leeds when she first returned home but she wanted to experiment with different types of flavours.

Rasa Teas, which are blended by hand. Picture by Simon HulmeRasa Teas, which are blended by hand. Picture by Simon Hulme
Rasa Teas, which are blended by hand. Picture by Simon Hulme

"I really love chocolate orange I thought that it would be the perfect combination It wasn’t the direction they wanted to go in and so I started experimenting and making my own.”

Chocolate Orange Cacao Infusion was Ella’s first product. She slices all the oranges by hand and carefully dehydrates them over a 12+ hour period. “This delicately encapsulates their rich juices to later be released when you come to brew your Chocolate Orange tea. The skin remains and offers greater benefits from the bitter taste.”

Her Chocolate Chai aids digestion. “The warming spices are all well known supports to the digestive system - easing indigestion, bloating and preventing stomach ulcers.”

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Chocolate Goji Rose is a combination of Goji berries which are a 'superfood' which support the female cycle and rose contain antioxidants. “I absolutely love rose and I went to the Bulgarian Rose Festival and that’s where I get my roses from. Rosebuds and rose petals are picked in early summer in the morning in when they have their fullest aroma, flavour and ability to transmit the qualities of healing, beauty and love.”

Ella Young is pictured infusing tea with a lemon.Ella Young is pictured infusing tea with a lemon.
Ella Young is pictured infusing tea with a lemon.

The Great Taste Award winning Chocolate Vanilla Cacao Infusion also has health benefits. “Vanilla is connected to the element of air (ascension) while also grounded into the the sacral chakra - aphrodisiac,” says Ella.

Her newest blend is Drishti – a supportive blend for women's health.

“It contains the blue pea flower is rich in antioxidants, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with menstrual problems,” says Ella. “Also when you had lemon juice it changes colour which all add to the sense of ritual and ceremony.” Ella has also developed her own range of tea wear along side Sophie Oliviant. Although it is sold out at the moment they are in the process of making more. "So many people these days don’t own a tea pot and just pour boiling water over a tea bag in a cup. But when you add water to my teas and let it bew for the recommended 12 minutes, the essential oils are released and you don’t want to lose those so we designed a tea set which included a lid for your cup which then becomes a coaster.” Ella blends and bags all her teas by hand. At the moment they are mainly purchased via her website and few local shops near her Leeds home. She’d love to see them become more widely available and although the Great Taste Award saw sales grow she still says they are manageable for the moment and can easily keep up with demand alongside running her retreats.

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Her next retreat takes place on Tuesday May 2 to Friday May 5. Full Moon Full Bloom is being held in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Early Bird booking before Feb 2 sees a £150 discount.

“This retreat is about revelling in natural beauty. Immerse yourself in all that is blooming in springtime surroundings and within yourself. We gather in the lead up to the full moon, together riding the high vibration and stepping into our true potential.”

For more information or to buy Ella’s teas which retail at £6.25 visit