Sampa: bringing together Brussels’ expats

The basic premise for Sampa Tea Company, a new independent bottled iced tea company operating out of Brussels and Antwerp, was devised by a group of friends from four different countries over lunch in a typical eethuis in Matongé.

There is a sense that Brussels is ideally suited to these types of undertakings. European and multinational, local and inter-regional, Creative and Entrepreneurial. Where else could Italians, Portuguese, Belgians (both French and Dutch speaking) and Americans come together to launch a family style business.

The idea behind Sampa is simple, A healthy beverage that gives back to the local community, ideally by working with the cultural sector. The product was also simple, a fresh brewed iced tea lightly sweetened with organic raw sugar. How it was going to be produced commercially or help their community was another challenge entirely.

Sampa 1

The solution came in the form of an article in a German magazine about companies donating money to developing countries. Why not take that idea and apply it to local non-profits, they thought. A few phone calls and meetings later and Sampa was on its way to making this a reality. The model is simple, for every bottle they give 5 cents to a non-profit in the cultural sector.

Sampa’s partner in Brussels is Théâtre de La Vie, an acclaimed theatre and dance space run by Brussels theatrical stalwart Peggy Thomas, herself a French ex-pat. The theatre is well known for nurturing Belgium’s emerging talent, and acting as a crucial stepping stone, having already had several of their productions picked up by some of Brussels’ larger production houses. Sampa saw in TdLV’s commitment to creativity and youth an ideal partner.

Their first product launched in late 2016. It’s an iced tea brewed from a blend of Japanese green tea and French peppermint leaves, and is already available in local hotspots like the trendy coffee bar Jat, Comptoir Belge, and the ever cosy Ciabatta Mania. A second flavour, a Ceylon Black tea with fresh Spanish lemon juice is in the pipeline, and will be reaching thirsty, health conscience stomachs by spring.