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Saicho is the creation of Natalie and her partner Charlie Winkworth-Smith, who first established the luxurious non-alcoholic tea brand in the United Kingdom. The exciting new concept brings together two well-established tea cultures and offers a unique and sophisticated beverage for the growing number of consumers looking for a more refined and premium non-alcoholic option.

While wine has traditionally dominated the realm of food pairing, sparkling tea challenges this norm by showcasing the remarkable similarities between tea and wine. Just like wine, sparkling tea boasts a spectrum of flavours, influenced by factors such as terroir, climate, and production techniques. Saicho’s selection of sparkling tea mirrors the diversity found in wine, allowing enthusiasts to explore a rich tapestry of tastes – from delicate floral notes to complex and robust profiles. By drawing this parallel, Saicho aims to broaden the horizons of tea appreciation and redefine the concept of pairing with food.

There are 3 tea expressions in the Saicho range, Darjeeling, Jasmine and Hojicha, each with a set of distinct flavour characteristics, unique to the respective regions in India, China and Japan.

Each sparkling tea has been carefully balanced and crafted to shine a light on the nuanced and complex flavours of each tea. The brand is beautifully packaged with the designs of birds, flora and fauna that are native to each country of tea origin. Promoting as much interest and provenance as premium wines and champagnes. Truly recognising and celebrating the flavour of tea and where is comes from.

Saicho uses single origin tea, hand picking the exact varietal, time of harvest, location, terroir, altitude and processing methods. Rather than being bombarded by a mongrel of flavours, there’s a simplicity and purity to using single origin tea.


Saicho Darjeeling sparkling tea is a black tea grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, India. The pure mountain air and rich soil produce a unique muscatel-like tea, which is handpicked during the summer when the flavour is most pronounced. The tea has notes of mandarin, ginger and wood spice and gentle dry tannins, pairing well with grilled meats or rich pasta dishes.


Originating in Kyoto in the 1920s, Saicho use Hojicha from Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan. It is made by roasting second flush Sencha green tea. To create the rich umami flavour and deep aroma the leaves are roasted alongside the stems and stalks of the tea tree. With notes of nori seaweed, roasted hazelnut and delicate smoke, with dry and woody tannins. Hojicha pairs well with sushi or mushroom risotto.


Saicho Jasmine sparkling tea is grown in the mountains of Fuding in Fujian province China. The leaves are handpicked in the spring for their delicate flavour and in the summer scented with Jasmine flowers to create an opulent aroma. With notes of apple sherbet, lychee and vanilla this tea pairs well with spicy Asian salads and creamy desserts. It also makes it a beautiful refreshing aperitif.

Charlie Winkworth-Smith, co-founder, explains the vision behind Saicho’s production process:

When designing the production process for Saicho, I had a clear vision: to create a champagne-like mouthfeel and taste experience that would challenge preconceived notions of tea flavours. We achieve this by cold brewing our teas for up to 24 hours. Through our carefully developed production technique, we extract the intricate flavours of the tea while minimising bitterness. Our selection of single origin teas has been a meticulous and mindful process, celebrating the major tea-producing regions worldwide and showcasing the diverse range of flavours they offer.

Saicho believes in celebrating quality ingredients, proudly producing a refreshing tea that is vegan friendly, halal certified, sulphite free, low calorie and with no added artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

Since its launch, Saicho has been welcomed by numerous renowned sommeliers, hoteliers, high-end restaurants and luxury retailers around the world, praised for its quality and versatility.

“Saicho Sparkling Tea, a dynamic leader in non-alcoholic sparkling, is honoured to sponsor the Top 100 Sommeliers Innovation Award 2024. As pioneers of a bold new category, we recognise the dedication and expertise of sommeliers who are elevating the non-alcoholic experience. Together, we toast to innovation and excellence.”

Charlie and Natalie Winkworth – Smith. Founders of Saicho
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