The Team

Our Manifesto

We are poets, engineers, athletes, artists, lovers of nature and fanatics of tea. Together, our thirst for life and better health fuels a dedication to handcrafting unique teas that we know you’ll love. We strive to make each cup as timeless as the mountains around us, as innovative as our community. With one foot steeped in tradition and the other outstretched towards a healthier future, we hope to make loose-leaf tea your everyday luxury.

 
Maria Uspenski
Maria Uspenski
Founder and CEO Maria Uspenski is the innovative force behind our Steepware® designs. Drawing on her background as an MIT mechanical engineer, she is listed on four U.S. patents for Steepware® inventions. As the inspiration behind our 10% Pledge to cancer and community wellness programs, Maria is on a mission to advance healthier living through whole leaf tea. Her book “Cancer Hates Tea” has made a splash in the tea industry, promoting a five cup a day habit. She can also be found cycling over Rocky Mountain passes with her husband and speaking French to her spunky dog, Dushka.
Jessica Kochik
Jessica Kochik
CMO Jessica Kochik is thrilled to combine her love of tea with her love of analytics and digital marketing. This love affair has allowed her to build our ecom channel with passion and an eye for design. A scientist by training, she’s a keen analytical thinker, project manager, and creative growth hacker. This queen of shavasana loves yoga, lives to travel, and is the proud mama of two vibrant girls.
Mary Allard
Mary Allard
Sales and General Manager, Mary, loves to tell The Tea Spot's story, share her passion for holistic health, and help provide the perfect cup of tea to her customers. You will find Mary slinging tea all over the state of Colorado with a car full of The Tea Spot goodies. This Colorado girl is innately drawn to the mountains to explore by bike or on foot with her little boy in tow.
Elise Ridgway
Elise Ridgway
As the Director of Operations, Elise uses her analytical skills to streamline inventory management and other operations to help sustainably scale The Tea Spot's business and philanthropy efforts. Outside of The Tea Spot you'll find this gal trekking up mountains or enjoying happy hour on a sunny patio. We are lucky to have this cool headed lady at the helm of opperations.
Candra Miller
Candra Miller
Wholesale Sales Associate, Candra, was born and raised with deep roots in a small town in Kansas. She was drawn to Colorado thanks to the beautiful scenery and lifestyle that it offers. This firecracker enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and camping for days on end with her pups. With a background in the organic food industry and sales, whole leaf tea plays a major role in helping her live a productive, balanced and holistic lifestyle.
Jordan Overlie
Jordan Overlie
As the team's Operations Manager, Jordan delights in every detail that ensures the successful union of a tea-loving individual with the leaf of their choice. He is a lifelong student of the symbiotic relationship between humanity and camellia sinensis. His passions include conflict mediation and elegant solutions to complex obstacles. Jordan is also an avid cyclist and loves to sing.
Jane Schrag
Jane Schrag
Shipping and Receiving Manager, Jane, gets the job done with a brilliant smile and the finesse of a pro. Originally from New Zealand, this kiwi brings both experience and a positive attitude to the warehouse. As a mother of three teenagers, she's a pro at juggling schedules and deadlines. A generous foodie at heart, she also spoils us with gourmet homemade dishes for every celebration!
Jenny Ramirez
Jenny Ramirez
Customer Care Representative, Jenny, is a world traveler and has spent extensive time in Asia. She has incorporated the hospitality and desire to connect with people she learned through her travels into her position here. She loves spicy food, learning languages and solving problems. A lifelong tea drinker, her happy place is drinking traditional Masaala Chai and sharing with friends. Jenny is madly in love with both her husband, and her Chocolate Lab.
Travis Aiello
Travis Aiello
As the team's in-house graphic designer and production team member, Travis adds a spark to the scene whether he's in the office or warehouse. With a great sense of style and a love of good food, this local Coloradan knows all the great spots. And we are often blessed with his inpromptu serenades and guitar picking.
Shaunna Gapter
Shaunna Gapter
Bookkeeper extraordinaire, Shaunna Gapter, makes sure we are paid, paid up, and on the straight and narrow. This upbeat Colorado native is like a den mom to our team - a fantastic cook, mountain enthusiast, dog-lover, and the first person you'll invite to the party. She knows how to make a mean margarita!

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