On Galway’s rugged shoreline, you’ll find Solaris Tea – a family business established by husband and wife Joerg and Karin Mueller. The couple are both qualified medical herbalists specialising in the blending and preparation of whole-leaf organic teas, which can be found in the Dunnes Stores Simply Better range.

The dream for Solaris began midway through the pair’s degree when they started making blends for a local coffeeshop whilst studying in Lancashire.

“Back then, we didn’t find the teas in the market interesting in terms of blend, composition and design,” says Joerg.

After some time their herbal blends outsold the coffee offerings and they decided to work on a design and plan for their own brand.

Ecology as core philosophy

Based in Galway, the couple agree that they were passionate about the brand’s philosophy from the very first day they started blending their own teas.

“Our backgrounds allowed us to envision the brand we wanted to create,” explains Karin.

“I grew up on an organic farm and it was a morning ritual for me to get up and pick fresh herbs. Joerg also used to work in the woods, foraging herbs for various high-end restaurants.”

Joerg says that sustainability has to be something which grows with a company, especially in a world where there is greenwashing.

“Sustainability is not a trend word for us, but has been a core philosophy from the start,” he explains.

“We are completely plastic free and everything is either biodegradable or compostable. We have also joined [Bord Bia] Origin Green and have just registered with B Corp,” adds Karin.

Sourcing suppliers

For Joerg and Karin, sourcing ingredients goes all the way back to the farmer. “We source our tea all over the world – green tea from China, black tea from India and some of the more aromatic herbs from Uruguay,” explains Joerg.

“We work quite closely with the world’s first carbon neutral tea plantation, which is based in India. They do fantastic on-the-ground projects, [focusing on things like] female empowerment and supplying surrounding villages with cooking stoves.”

The synergistic effect

Karin explains that blending herbal teas is similar to making a perfume.

“You have a top note and a base note and you have to try create a harmony between the two,” she says.

“On a higher level, when the teas are blended together, they have a synergistic effect and are amplified by the herbs to bring a wellness effect. This is especially true for relaxation blends, because when you understand how they work [as well as their flavour profile], you have a beautifully balanced tea that works harmoniously on the body system.”

Joerg says that tea is constantly developing and becoming a lifestyle choice. “Our overarching motto is to ‘make the tea break’ so everyone has a moment of pause and reflection,” he explains. “Even if it’s just for two minutes a day – the correct blend of tea can relax you to a more peaceful mental state, and that is our overarching goal.”

Karin also adds, “It’s a really wonderful thing to have that wellness impact on people. It helps us to reconnect and that’s where our passion comes in so that people can have access to affordable wellness moments.”

Working with Simply Better

Meetings with the Simply Better team began after COVID-19, when things were slowly coming back to


“I led the Simply Better team through a sensory tea tasting experience, and myself and Karin were genuinely impressed and appreciative of the time they took to understand what we were all about,” says Joerg.

When deciding what blends to prepare for the Dunnes Stores Simply Better range, Karin says it was important to include the classics, such as a pure peppermint or their simple green tea.

“We also decided to create a beautiful range of blended teas, such as the camomile and rose tea, lemongrass and ginger and then a series of chai blends.

“My personal favourite in the Simply Better range has to be the Rooibos Cacao Chai which is called ‘comfort’. It is a fabulous tea for people who want to go off black tea and it has extra yumminess with the added cacao.”

According to Joerg, the team at Simply Better wanted them to continue the way they were without subsidising ingredients or packaging.

“Sometimes supermarkets want you to cut corners and that was just never something we were willing to do,” he explains. “They really let us develop a range whilst also giving us support through the process. The partnership has also allowed us to reach a customer base that we normally wouldn’t have.”

Both Karin and Joerg say they are excited to bring the message of wellness across more strongly and make people aware of the Irish based product hub that Simply Better has become.

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