About Us


We’ll admit, there was a time it was all about wine, but take a deep dive into seriously good tea and there’s no looking back. We’re talking ‘tea as it should be’, simply natural and rich in provenance, sustainably sourced to our fanatical standards from truly exceptional plantations. 
We say long lunches are better with a bottle of sparkling tea, the healthy refresher you can feel good about drinking. And we’re wild about adventurous food pairing with loose-leaf teas full of flavour and texture, from fragrant white teas that take the edge off Summer, over ice, to full-bodied conversation starters with great stories of origin.
Something’s brewing, be surprised where tea will take you. Karina & Jo




our purpose

What defines, guides and drives what we do?  

Our absolute passion for taking you from feeling underwhelmed and weighed-down by sugar-laden, artificially flavoured, and hangover-inducing beverages, to loving being fully refreshed and naturally energised by our flavour-packed and nutrient-rich sparkling and loose leaf teas.

We live to inspire you with endless possibilities for food pairing and mood-enhancement, by showing you just how rewarding it can be to re-boot your routine by making our premium teas a highlight of everyday life.



our story

The buds, the beads and the bones of it. . .

Curious about our brand name?

The buds are the delicate, first flush of Spring growth, hand-picked for our premium teas while they’re bursting with flavour and life-giving nutrients. The beads are the stream of fine bubbles that effervesce from our luscious and nourishing sparkling teas.

The bones of it, comes down to a close-knit couple of food-wine-and-fun loving women, whose lifestyles and bodies were crying out for some #notboringthanks nurturing, that we could happily embrace in our everyday. 

Why tea?  Sure, we’ve shared some life moments and tough times over the odd cuppa together, but once our eyes were opened to the flavour layers, complex personalities, and unexpected pleasures of food pairing with seriously good teas, the transition from winding down with a glass of wine to steeping a cup of tea came easily. 

Day after day, doing life with tea makes everything better.

Our tea chest has become the treasured possession our wine cellar once was.

The range of 17 extraordinary teas we’ve selected for Buds & Beads is just a drop in the ocean of some 3,000 tea varieties to be found around the world. We think they’re the finest drops! 

We love that the cultivation and naming of each tea for the province it is grown in, is similar to the way in which wines are characterised. Classification can be broken down into black, green, oolong, white, pu-er and yellow, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed arriving at an ideal balance of these in our range. The selection process taught us that, just like wine, we can only fully appreciate a tea once the factors contributing to its unique characteristics are known, such as its place of origin, the altitude, climate and soil composition where it is grown, when it is picked and how it is processed. 

As you’ll discover for yourself, working our way through the teas in our own time and in good company, became a daily ritual we began to look forward to.

The adventure of tea is fresh every morning. 

How we feel in any given moment will influence the tea we’re drawn to enjoying, and who we choose to invite into that space with us. Approaching meals with thoughts of how the culinary experience can best be complemented by a specific tea, was all new to us when we first embarked on this venture. These days, our food pairing borders on obsession now that we understand the flavour complexities that fragrant or full-bodied tea can bring to your palate.  

Tea selection for a table of friends or family can be every bit as adventurous as choosing which wine to serve.

It breaks the boredom of abstaining from alcohol, with the kick-back of energy and clarity, instead of a vitality-sapping hangover. Now that we have a grasp of which teas will calm us and restore balance, stimulate us and boost concentration spark conversation or nurture us individually, and satisfy our cravings without the sugar low or caffeine crash, we know what it means to truly enjoy something as simple as our choice of tea.

Who are Karina and Jo?

Best friends for more years than they care to count, with more than 35 years of food, wine and hospitality in their veins, Karina and Jo share a hunger for finding new paths to fulfilling their calling for connecting people in ways that are wholesome, nurturing, uplifting and rewarding. 

One of the most genuine and generous women you could ever hope to meet, Karina has turned ‘a taste of the good life’ into an artform, as owner of Bells at Killcare. When Mafalda, the Tea Master of the exquisite loose-leaf blends which had for many years delighted Bells at Killcare guests, invited Karina to take over her tea business, Karina and Jo pondered the vast knowledge, artisanal blends and relationships with extraordinary tea plantations that she had invested a lifetime in establishing, and the seeds of possibility were sown. 

It took little convincing for Jo to run with the idea of re-branding the range and elevating it to a whole new ‘lifestyle beverage’ experience of extraordinary teas. What you need to know about Jo is that she has a gift for bringing joy to life’s great adventures and inviting other people into the fun with her open nature and natural exuberance. Jo’s wine marketing background was the perfect match to make the leap to a series of high-end sparkling teas.   

And so, Buds & Beads Took Shape 

We’ve invested great care, and many tasting sessions with winemakers and sommeliers within our circle, into deciding which loose-leaf teas were special enough to make the cut for our Buds & Beads selection. Together, we’ve developed three delightful and nourishing alcohol-free sparkling teas with scarcely any sugar and added these to the collection. Something a little sexy for celebrating life.….without the hangover. 

On the Buds & Beads website you’ll find our tasting notes, to assist you with your tea selection when ordering direct from us. Explore the origins, flavour profile, personality, and suggested food pairing for each unique tea, then discover for yourself how a particular brew can become a cherished part of the way you do life. We’d love you to share your pics and thoughts on the teas as you enjoy them, to our socials.

In the coming months, you can expect to see Buds & Beads loose leaf and sparkling teas on the menus of Sydney, Newcastle and The Central Coast. Check our website for stockist updates.

A treat to feel good about

All of our teas are blended, brewed and packed within Australia, using ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients from local and imported growers.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Buds & Beads acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.