College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Student Innovators Awarded Best New Product


Release posted on behalf of Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership

6 April 2011

Patrick Tannous, CEO, Tiesta Tea,, 847-409-6787
Daniel Klein, COO, Tiesta Tea,, 847.212.0873
Melissa Chua, Media Coordinator, Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, 847.208.3932

Startup company team of former University of Illinois student innovators has been awarded Best New Product for the 2011 World Tea Expo.

Champaign, IL -- Wednesday, April 6, 2011. World Tea Media awarded Tiesta Tea, a young startup company sponsored by the University of Illinois, the Best New Product in the category of Packaging for the 2011 World Tea Expo. The award commemorates the design and functionality of Tiesta Tea's tins.

"The design and functionality of the tins is superb," said Kim Jage, Executive Vice President of World Tea Media. "We loved the 'peek-a-boo' sides that offer a glimpse of the tea's special quality, while the packaging itself safeguards its freshness."

"No tea company has ever created tins with UV protected windows and a mechanical clasp on top," said Patrick Tannous, CEO of Tiesta Tea and former University of Illinois Chicago student in Communications. "I guess we were innovators."

Tiesta Tea began as a collaboration between Tannous and Daniel Klein, COO of Tiesta Tea and former University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Tannous and Klein took their tea business idea to a new level through the Academy for Entrepreneurship's Illinois Launch incubator program, which provided Tiesta Tea with the seed funding and mentorship needed to start a successful business.

What sets Tiesta Tea apart from other tea operations is their innovative marketing and tea packaging techniques. Tiesta Tea categorizes tea by its traits and physical effects on the consumer rather than by its color or type. The five lines of Tiesta Tea include Energizer, Relaxer, Slenderizer, Immunity, and Forever Young.

Klein and Tannous now operate their tea business in Chicago, IL, where they participate periodically in tea expositions and distribute their product in the Chicago area. Tiesta Tea is currently sold in over 30 stores. With the Best New Product award from the World Tea Expo under their belt, the Tiesta Tea team hopes to continue a trend of innovation in the packaging of their teas and serve as an example of success for young startup companies coming out of the University of Illinois.

UIUC College of Business