Welcome again to Leaves of Cha! Where you can find real tea made by real people that you can think about and thank whenever you take a sip of their delightful creations. That’s the whole point for me: connecting you, the drinker, with an artist, the teamaker or grower.
But where did all this come from? Why a tea business when you should be quietly working that high-paying corporate job for those last twenty years until retirement? Why now? And why tea?
I guess in some ways I’m one of the “…unloosed, the wandering souls who were willing to scrape their lives clean and start again elsewhere”, as Jessa Crispin puts it in her book The Dead Ladies Project. My unloosening came four years ago when I lost my high-paying corporate job to right-sizing, restructuring, and a flat industry and economy with not a lot to offer to a 50-year-old. So I scratched my head and dabbled around in a couple of things to help pay the rent. One of those things was helping a local tea company wholesale tea to restaurants, coffee houses, and tea shops. Being a lifelong tea drinker, this gave me a way of combining my sales skills with a food I love. Those two years of wholesaling gave me an insight into how the tea business worked. Especially the fact that if you are buying tea grown in quantity as a commodity, you are probably getting inferior tea, the growers and workers are not being paid sustainable wages, and more corporate farming practices (i.e., agrobusiness fertilizers and pesticides) are probably being used. See this excellent article on these issues, or download a copy of TeaforMePlease’s newsletter. Coupling that experience with educating myself on tea to a much deeper level than I ever had before as a drinker, I almost unknowingly started incubating my next big move. Leaves of Cha. Quality hand-made teas with known provenance.