A Cup of Nature and a Surprising Mushroom


It was a Tuesday afternoon. One of those grey cloud, nothing special sort of days, but I was having to mentally process several projects we were working on and then something caught my eye. Is that a mushroom growing out of my plant?


To clarify, this was not one of my immediate projects but the symbol of this little white mushroom growing from the soil of my perennial was an indication of life. Life from tea.



One of our foundational values at iLOLA is ownership. In this context, it basically means to take ownership of our environment. In the words of our Co-Founder Tim Hill, “from the earth to the earth” is why this little mushroom was so inspirational. I was starting to see one of our dreams come to life…. literally.


The soil of my garden and all my house plants are nourished in used tea leaves. After I have finished with my Tea Disc, I throw the tea leaves onto my soil. I even throw any remaining tea water on there as well. This ‘tea compost’ provides nutrients and bacteria back into my topsoil; improves natural life for living organisms; improves the soil structure; provides a healthy environment for plant roots; and makes me happy. I’ll come back to the ‘happy’ part a little later.


We’ve all seen the heavy impact of changing weather patterns recently. However, one of the major impacts from the necessary growth of agriculture is the destruction of topsoil. The process of which can take centuries to create.


We’re taking healthy soil, growing crops in it, adding pesticides to kill the insects, destroying microbes, removing the nutrients from the soil into our food and then growing more. This leaves our soil more depleted each cycle leading to a 12-million-hectare desertification problem every year.1



The benefit of Tea Discs is that we use a cellulose binding to hold our whole, loose-leaf tea leaves into a disc form. Part of this benefit, including healthy bacteria, is consumed in your tea, feeding your digestive biome. What is left, as it decomposes in your garden, provides nutrients and bacteria into your soil. Feeding the microscopic bacteria, fungi and other organisms in your soil’s microbes.2

In my garden, that means a lot of friendly insects, more birds and smaller animals that start to recreate that soil-food-cycle and feed healthier topsoil. In my house, the tea leaves smell amazing, which is also nice.



Back to my happiness in topsoil. By now, I hope you’ve realized that mother was right! Partly out of hope my kids will finally realize this fact, but also science is proving that you really should play in the dirt.

Various studies out of Colorado, US and Bristol, UK have shown that the bacteria that feeds on decaying organic matter can help fight stress and reduce fear-like behaviour.3 The results were so positive in the production of serotonin in our brain that they are trying to bottle all that goodness in the form of a pill.


So that little mushroom and momentary distraction made me very happy. Happy that we all have a little cup of nature that can be part of creating healthier topsoil. Happy our tea discs are helping our environment grow stronger. Happy I have another excuse to get into that garden and release some stress. Happiness and liberation in a single cup of loose leaf tea.

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