The G.S. Haly Team
Michael Spillane · President
“Mike Spillane is the personification of specialty tea. In fact, before anyone knew there was anything special about tea, Mike was selling it… Mike is a mentor to many and the unofficial father of the specialty tea movement within the United States.”
Michael Spillane has set the standard for tea professionals in the United States for nearly four decades. His profound love for and knowledge of tea, and his commitment to education and industry growth continue to inform every aspect of The G.S. Haly Company.
Mike grew up sweeping tea leaves and emptying the spittoon in The G.S. Haly Company offices. In 1977, he began working full-time with his mother, Marie Spillane, following her lead in developing relationships with tea producers, clients and colleagues around the globe.
Learning the ropes of the industry from long-established traders and tea-makers instilled in Mike a belief in the importance of education as the foundation of long-term business relationships. That this education be found through rigorous cupping, travel to origin, and thorough familiarity with all tea types has been intrinsic to The G.S. Haly Company ever since.
During the early 1980s, as the Specialty Coffee Association of America was building the foundations of a national coffee education movement, Mike took the opportunity to begin offering tea classes through SCAA. The popularity of these classes led him to create the American Premium Tea Institute (APTI), the first tea education program in the United States. APTI later evolved into today’s Specialty Tea Institute (STI).
Like his father, Edward Spillane, Mike also served as chairman of the United States Tea Board of Experts from 1993 until 1995.
In 2016, in recognition of these contributions to the tea industry, the World Tea Expo honored Mike with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mike was born into the tea industry and has spent the last 40 years shaping the American tea trade. His lifelong dream is to pass on his passion for tea to the next generation of tea professionals.
Aaron Vick · Senior Tea Buyer
Aaron Vick fell out of professional cooking and into the world of tea when he had his first tea cupping led by a professional trainer at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in 1997 in Berkeley, California. Inspired by that experience he spent ten years with Peet’s as a staff educator, sharing the knowledge that inspired him and learning from some of the most experienced people in the industry. That community of tea people led him to The G.S. Haly Company where, as the senior tea buyer, Aaron is immersed in the daily discipline of cupping offers from the great specialty tea origins of the world and bringing them to the North American market. He also currently serves as a Judge for the North American Tea Championship and is a former board member and instructor for the Specialty Tea Institute and World Tea Expo.
Mo Sardella · Marketing Director
Mo Sardella has been working with specialty tea since 1998, when he began his career at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Berkeley, CA. Since then, Mo has focused on tea education programs, including teaching focused tasting workshops for the World Tea Expo, judging for the North American Tea Championships, and serving on the Advisory Board for the Specialty Tea Institute. Mo joined The G.S. Haly Company in 2010, where he directs marketing and communication centered around maintaining high consistency and quality standards. Through active and collaborative partnerships with tea producers and suppliers, Mo continues to develop his skills at the cupping table, and his depth of knowledge about tea.
Marissa Reddy · Quality Program Manager
Marissa Reddy began her professional tea life at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in 2004, working as the staff training leader on the East coast for Boston and Chicago. She has since worked as a trainer for several specialty tea and coffee brands and ventures across the United States, specializing in education and developing tea training materials for a range of tea-focused audiences. She has also taught skill-building workshops for the World Tea Expo and served as cupping coordinator for the North American Tea Championships. She joined The G.S. Haly Company in 2015, where she works with customers, suppliers and regulatory agencies to develop and assess quality requirements and compliance for G.S. Haly teas.