What makes the perfect cup of tea? Does it start with the plant, is it about the blend, or is it purely the flavour? Zaynab Hasan, a tea enthusiast with a passion for all things herbal speaks to Shabana Adam about her home-grown entrepreneurial journey.

Zaynab’s entrepreneurial efforts began in 2015 when she was going to start a clothing line. “It didn’t workout for me,” she recalls. “I fell asleep that night all upset, because I’d always wanted to have my own business. I woke up from a beautiful dream of little girls dressed in white, picking flowers from my garden and placing them in a white kettle.” And that’s when it hit her; Zaynab’s grandma loved growing her own herbs so the Bahrain-based tea grower asked her gran for help. “It wasn’t easy at all since I had no experience in gardening or with tea,”she says. “There were a few ups and downs with the climate and some plants would just never grow.”

The biggest challenges for Zaynab included everything from the weather to keeping the plants alive and balancing college projects with orders. But, since this inspiring impromptu dream, Zaynab has faced and overcome many of the technical and personal challenges through trial and error, and, of course, patience and practice. The Gulf region has been a blessing for Zaynab who believes that the supportive community around her and everyone’s willingness to help, really keeps the entrepreneurial spirit strong. Not to mention, there’s true appreciation for local talent too. Accrediting her motivation to both her mother and father as well as her beloved grandma, much of Zaynab’s voyage into the small business arena has seen the support of her family. “The biggest thanks to miss Jane Pettigrew from the UK Tea Academy who helped to boost my tea knowledge back in January when I took a course as a tea sommelier,” Zaynab mentions.

The million dollar question: what makes the perfect cup of tea? ““A perfect cup of tea is made with positivity and love,” Zaynab tells us. “Your feeling whilst brewing a cup is very important. Positive vibes only!” Some of the herbalist’s future goals include: getting better at time management to avoid stress when under pressure; to spread the word about the importance of herbal plants and the benefits of each one; to change lifestyles by encouraging to drop the caffeine and drink healthy blends; and biggest of all – to open up a Victorian Tea Room and Patisserie.

“I also want to expand my knowledge about tea, you can never know enough, there’s just so much to learn about herbalism,” Zaynab says. For this herb-friendly lady, an entrepreneur is an independent individual who can manage heavy responsibilities and multitask all by themselves – things that big companies would have several people handle. Why? Because Zaynab has done just that – she’s grown her business from the grassroots, literally, and the only way now is UP.