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It’s Valentine’s Day this week and for us at Lumina we wanted to turn this occasion into the opportunity to share some small business love for one of our long-standing customers, Tobia Teff.

Tobia Teff began in 2008 and is run by wife and husband team, Sefanit Sophie Sirak-Kebede & Meny Kebede. With their love of the ancient grain, Teff and traditional Ethiopian cuisine they have grown and evolved their business from owning their restaurant in 2003 to offering flour, bread, snack bars, cakes and bakes online to the UK and beyond.

Tobia Teff first started working with us in 2015 and it is has been our pleasure to interview Sefanit Sophie and share more about the business with you all. She has a great sense of humour, is incredibly proud of what she has created and the joy of what she does shines through. We hope you enjoy the interview.

Sophie, tell everyone about yourself and the business:

I have had a long career in food and I was a hotelier for a number of years. We’re passionate about authentic cooking and baking. I’m actually baking right now as we speak. We use an ancient grain called Teff which is very healthy and provides a number of nutritious benefits. We have our own products which we sell and also work with the NHS.

Let’s take a closer look at Teff

Teff is a species of lovegrass, native to Ethiopia and is believed to have originated between 4,000 B.C. and 1,000 B.C. It’s a gluten free grain with a host of health benefits from aiding circulation, balancing hormones and boosting immunity. It is also a high-fibre food and a strong source of protein, iron and calcium (which can help with bone health too).

Why do you love what you do?

The baking and cooking. It’s my favourite. I love waking up early, especially now it’s not so cold and baking in my kitchen, the sun is shining and it makes me feel happy.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the business so far and how have you overcome them?

We are not alone in this, many people out there have been affected, but the last three years have been challenging. With the pandemic and the economy. People’s priorities of what they are buying have changed at the moment so we have seen a shift. However, we remain hopeful and as a business we keep going, we keep baking and sharing. I do get to have an extra hour in bed these days though which I don’t mind so much.

What goals do you have for your business this year?

We have some things in the pipeline for the year ahead and we will wait and see. There’s always things you’d like to achieve and do.

Do you have any special treats you are baking for this Valentine’s Day?

We have customers who want to order special treats for loved ones, healthy but with a little bit of treat too. We can do cakes, Valentine’s Hampers and biscuits.

Thank you so much to Sefanit Sophie for sharing about her business. If you like to find out more about Tobia Teff or order some of their delicious and healthy treats please visit www.tobiateff.co.uk or on Facebook and Instagram.