When you first meet Kadi, you can’t help but get excited about tea. It really is a labor of love. Kadi and her business partner, Kelli Dawson, founded Tea Time in Cayman, a loose leaf tea company, while working full time jobs at PwC. Theirs is an uplifting story based on hard work, love and dedication. We are thrilled to be partnering with the experts at Tea Time in Cayman for our Afternoon Tea offering, the Alice in Wonderland-inspired ‘A Mad Tea Party’ at Anchor & Den on Saturday afternoons.
Here we find out more about Kadi, her fondest memories growing up in Cayman and her passion for all things tea!
Kadi was born and raised in Cayman. When asked what she loves about her home country, she gives a number of reasons why this is her preferred place. First and foremost, it is all about family. She said: “Both my mom and dad are from here so it is nice to have a lot of family around especially now since I have my little boy. They love spending time with him.” Secondly, the weather of course! She continued: “I have never lived anywhere cold! I chose to go to school in Florida where it is sunshine all year round. I love to be in warm weather.”
The final reason is the diversity and multiculturalism of Cayman. She explained: “You get so many personalities in Cayman. I don’t know if it is the type of person that chooses to come here but it seems that most people love to learn about other places and different cultures. This island is very welcoming and accepting of everybody from all walks of life. We definitely embrace different cultures here. You can see just by the restaurants we have – Cayman is so diverse.”
Growing up in paradise, Kadi knew it was a very special place. When asked to describe her fondest childhood memory, she describes a beautiful day with her mom and cousins. She elaborated: “I remember when I was around 13 years old, it was very common during the mango season to go swimming with mangoes. I was on Seven Mile Beach close by to where Royal Palms is located today. I was with my mom and a few cousins swimming in the sea. My mom had a big bag of mangoes and we were all in the water and she was throwing us mangoes so we could eat them. Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits and I really remember that day so clearly. I hope one day to share a similar experience with my son.”
Like many Caymanians who go abroad for school and then return home, Kadi studied in the States and then came back to the island and started her career in accounting at PwC. It was in November 2011, nearly five years ago, that she and her friend Kelli – also an accountant at PwC – had an epiphany. She described: “Kelli and I were working a lot of late nights back then and I would bring in tea from the US and she would bring in tea from Canada and late at night we would have tea tastings. At that time nowhere on island offered loose-leaf tea.” So we started talking to a few suppliers and we found a couple that we liked.” It was then that Tea Time in Cayman was born.
Kadi continued: “There were a lot of late nights in the beginning. We started with a 24-hour delivery policy which we continue to this day. And if the supplier needs it urgently then obviously that can be hectic. Sometimes we get three or four vendors saying that they need 200 teas at the same time! There were a few sleepless nights when we would package until 3am. And if we had an event we would get up at 6am to steep the tea and have it ready for the event. With our full-time jobs in accounting it was challenging at times but it was something that we loved doing. It was something that we know would succeed eventually and we have a great support system. Now we are there.”
With everything going on you would think that Kadi would be feeling overwhelmed. But when asked what her current state of mind is, it is very positive. She said: “I am a very naturally cheerful person. Some people joke around and ask me whether it is my tea that makes me so happy! Tea has so many health benefits including antioxidants, which has an effect on your wellbeing. I tell people that I have been drinking tea my whole life so it could be one of the reasons why I am so happy!” And when asked what her idea of perfect happiness is, it wasn’t difficult for her to come up with a quick answer. She said: “Spending time with family and being surrounded by the people that I love. Sometimes I take for granted my family living here, especially in Cayman where not everybody has their family with them. I have a great family who are very supportive of my business, my son and my life – everything! Life is good.”
When asked what her greatest extravagance is, it comes as no surprise that it involves people and socializing. She explained: “I really love to get together with people, whether that is over food, at a party or a charity event – I love people.” We asked whether she liked bonding with friends and family at Afternoon Tea and it was a resounding yes. She concluded: “I’ve now been twice to Afternoon Tea at the Beach House and I absolutely love it! The atmosphere is so inviting and the staff are so friendly! The food is also superb – my favorite sandwich is the Fig and Grape and the scones and sweets were incredible. Of course I enjoyed two or three cups of tea as well and loved how some of the teas (like Caramelicious) paired perfectly with the macaroon.”
Life seems to be a cup of tea for Kadi! For more information about our signature Afternoon Tea offering, follow us on Facebook.
Kadi in a Nutshell:
Personal motto: “Remain positive, no matter what!”
Brand of sunscreen: Honest Company
Sunset drink: Glass of Chablis
Summer scent: Dolce and Gabbana’s Light Blue
Brand of sunglasses: Tory Burch
Summer Book: No time to read right now!
Song of the season: Meghan Trainor – Better When I’m Dancin’
Flips flops or bare feet: Flip Flops
The Voices of Cayman’s Endless Summer