Body & Mind Inside Our Brands

Happy Tea: A closer look at Ayla + MyHavtorn sea buckthorn tea

Robin-Ingrid-Ellis of MyHavtorn at Ayla

Mind-blowing levels of devotion go into the production of MyHavtorn’s sea buckthorn-packed products, and these Swedish formulas have an equally devoted following at Ayla for the results they deliver on sensitive and rosacea-prone skin.

Robin and Ingrid, the wonderful couple behind MyHavtorn, would from time to time tuck a special treat into our shipments: a tea made from the leaves of the sea buckthorn tree. We fell so completely and hopelessly in love with this delicate, health-boosting wonder brew that we asked them if we could buy all of it. Happily, they agreed, and this was how our first Ayla product collaboration — Happy Tea — came to be.

To give you a closer look at this very special product, we asked Robin to answer a few more questions for us specifically about its production. As you'll see, it's an extraordinarily time-consuming, care-filled process, which makes the tea quite expensive to make. By having MyHavtorn pick and dry the leaves in Sweden and then packaging it in tins here in the US, we're able to bring it to you at a more reasonable price that allows more of us to enjoy this very special, highest-possible-quality tea.

Ayla: We’ve learned a lot about the benefits of the sea buckthorn berry. Tell us about the leaves, which you use in your Essence as well as your tea.

ROBIN: The Latin name of Sea Buckthorn is Hippophaë rhamnoides, which means “shining fur.” This refers to horses that eat the leaves and, as a result, get such beautiful and shiny fur. The leaves contain a lot of antioxidants and minerals. Collecting the leaves also a good way to use the resources from the whole plant so we avoid waste when possible.

Ayla: (We love your commitment to sustainability.) Can you tell us about the specific antioxidants and minerals in the leaves? 

ROBIN: Sea Buckthorn leaves are rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids, at the level you’ll find in green tea or rooibos. The minerals in the leaves are calcium and magnesium. When brewed as a tea, it is naturally caffeine free, and it contains theanine, which is known for its psychological  benefits.

Ayla: Tell us about the harvesting process for your sea buckthorn tea.

Robin: The leaves are from both female and male trees; the males have bigger leaves and are easier to pick, but our orchard has only 10% males, so most of the leaves are from females. Harvest season often starts in early August. We pick the leaves by hand as soon as possible when they are not too mature, but we are also careful to not hurt the trees when they are still carrying berries. The trees are very sensitive during that time, since they need to provide nutrients to the berries (the leaves help the trees collect energy from the sun).

If the leaves are not harvested, they fall to the ground and die…so, for us, it is great to be able to use them. The sea buckthorn tree has many gifts; it is really a wonderful tree in so many ways! Here is a picture of me picking the leaves with my father, Sven-Erik (who is 63) and my grandmother, Ruth (who is 87).

 MyHavtorn family harvest

Ayla: Everyone looks so young and healthy! Is it because of the tea and the berries?

Robin: Yes, maybe. My grandmother is very healthy and active. We call her “the mountain goat.” She and her sister, Ruth, really enjoy picking the leaves together. Ruth is in very good health, too.

Ruth and Iris at MyHavtorn 

Ayla: And they look so happy! There couldn’t be a better advertisement for this tea. OK, then what do you do after picking the leaves?

Robin: Our tea leaves are not heated. First we rinse them in cold water from our property’s mineral spring, then we dry it on benches and roll it to start the fermentation process (when the tea reacts with the air).

 sea buckthorn tea

Ayla: And how do you usually drink the tea in your family?

Robin: We like to brew it during dark, cold winter days. For example, I made some after labeling your hand creams in our ice-cold factory during a power outage! We often “fika” with the sea buckthorn tea during the middle of the day, while we eat a special treat and talk with friends. My grandmother, Ruth, and great-aunt, Iris, insist on fika even when the family is in the orchard all day to pick the leaves and berries.

 Fika prep at MyHavtorn


The last time we knew exactly who picked the leaves of the tea we were drinking (and then washed them by hand in their mineral spring) was — never. Honestly, how often does that happen?

And that’s just the beginning. This tea is healthy as all get out, providing loads of antioxidants and hard-to-come-by minerals in a massively anti-inflammatory brew that’s caffeine free and safe for absolutely everyone to enjoy, every single day.

To get your Happy Tea, click here. And hurry! Because although we bought it all, there's a limited amount of it until the next harvest. While you're at it, check out MyHavtorn's other products, too. Each one is made with the same amount of care and attention to detail, and we adore them all.

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