It’s (CBD) Tea Time with BLK Sapote

The founders of the local brand are redefining what luxury, purpose, and community look like within the cannabis space
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Enjoy some me time with a cup of BLK Sapote’s CBD tea. Each flavor comes in a cylinder of 10 tea bags. // Photograph courtesy of Chettara T. Photography

Picture this: It’s Sunday morning, and you’re enjoying your time in solitude. Maybe you’re wrapped in a fuzzy blanket on the couch, reading a book or watching a movie. Or you’re tending to some light housework as your favorite songs play in the background. Maybe you’re doing nothing at all. However — or whenever — you’re taking some time for yourself, it’s during those moments that Ashley Parks and Courtnie Pierce hope you choose to enhance your experience with their new line of CBD teas. 

BLK Sapote (pronounced black suh-POH’-tee) was launched earlier this year by the Southfield and Detroit natives. The brand offers hemp CBD teas made with ingredients like lemongrass and cranberry in the hibiscus-infused Red Velvet; ginger and cardamom for the chai-based International Lover; and Assam and Ceylon for The Boss, which resembles a traditional English breakfast tea. As state-licensed hemp processors and handlers with backgrounds in health and wellness — Parks is a nurse practitioner, and Pierce as a personal trainer — the duo uses their skills to craft products that are full-spectrum, meaning the entire flower is used. 

Community is key for BLK Sapote, and Parks and Pierce cultivate that experience by calling their customer base the High Tea Tribe, as well as through their Tea Suites. Not to be confused with literal rooms, the suites are rather metaphors for the brand’s purpose of helping folks create their own space to enjoy the teas through the themes of “solace,” “ritual,” and “enhancement.” And whether you’re a novice or an expert when it comes to CBD, the BLK Sapote online concierge is just an email away to answer any questions.  

“We’re all made differently. So, the way we respond to things is different, too,” Parks says. “We want to be intentional about how we hand-hold in that way. … We do know also that bad experiences are a big barrier to [cannabis] consumption. And so, when we create a safe and trusting environment for you to try again and remove that fear, then you’ll come back.” 

Parks and Pierce, who were childhood friends who reconnected in adulthood, knew from the start they wanted BLK Sapote to provide “a no-smoke cannabis experience.” And they also wanted to steer clear from edibles like gummies and sweets. Instead, Parks and Pierce opted for a more “grown-up and versatile” approach through CBD teas that could offer a luxurious escape for folks with busy lifestyles like their own. “We’re mothers, we’re women, we’re professionals,” Parks says. “The lifestyle of tea is very simple and mellow and settled and quiet.” 

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BLK Sapote co-founders Ashley Parks (left) and Courtnie Pierce. // Photograph courtesy of Moon Reflections Photography

The two also aim for their brand to demystify the stigmas associated with cannabis use, including the idea that there should be any shame associated with use or that there is a specific “type of person” who uses cannabis. And, as Black women and entrepreneurs, they want to increase representation of minorities participating in the white- and male-dominated cannabis industry. 

“To me, that’s the beautiful thing that Black women do when they enter a space. When we don’t see ourselves, we create something beautiful,” Pierce says. “It’s disheartening when you know that something is so valuable and so useful in so many ways, and the thing that’s preventing access — whether it’s physical access or mental access — is stigma and stereotype. So, we got a job to do.”  

They continue that intentional accessibility, in part, by hosting what they call “immersive experiences.” At these intimate events, attendees of all cannabis experience levels fellowship with one another, while learning about the brand and enjoying BLK Sapote teas, small plates, and a dinner. Around four hours later, they leave full and happy, with a curated gift bag of snacks and products by local makers. Parks and Pierce are still determining how often they’ll host the events, but after the first two in July and September, people are ready for more. 

“We want to incorporate cannabis in all these spaces —social, arts, and things like that,” Pierce says. “Cannabis should be intentional. Cannabis isn’t taking you on a journey; you are deciding your course, and you’re using cannabis to make it a more beautiful journey. That’s it.” 

Learn more about BLK Sapote at blksapote.com.


This story is featured in the December 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.

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