Flashback to last weekend and I was attending the NW Tea Festival in my hometown of Seattle. This two day festival brought vendors from all over the country together to give tea fanatics the chance to taste their wares with free samples, tea tastings, and educational tea workshops. I got to take a class to from Heather Agosta, President and Co-founder of the Jasmine Pearl Tea Company out of Portland, Oregon and learned how to someday do my own blends for Loose Leaf Club!
As I wandered the room, I got to meet Bill Richardson and chat with him about his new publication The Book of Tea plus was amazed at the diverse tea companies that had come to showcase their teas over the weekend. A perfect example of that diversity was B. Fuller Mortar & Pestle from Ballard that looked like something from Back to the Future. Their employees were outfitted with aviator glasses as part of their uniforms and their tea was displayed in test tube beakers and being steeped in something that looked it was out of my high school science class!
And, when I grew tired of tasting (not a thing really), I did some people-watching and was thoroughly entertained by the lengths that tea aficionados will go to enjoy their experience. The fascinators were out in force and the ladies were dressed to the nines in colorful outfits, flowery dresses and matching colored outfits!
But at the end of the day, my impression was that there were some good teas at the festival but also some not good teas! Not mentioning any names, but it made me realize that if a company with bad tasting signature teas can have a brick and mortar store and exhibit at the NW Tea Festival, there is hope for Loose Leaf Club because we have quality tea. It encouraged me to continue to reach out to my fledgling online community and spread the word to those who want good tea and preach my message. But, maybe you don’t know yet what our message is and the values of my company.
I want people to question where their tea comes from that they are drinking everyday. I want you to be able to reach out to your farmer and ask him questions on your mind. We feature direct trade tea in our subscription boxes which means we work directly with small farms and cooperatives. In our box selections, you will find some of the teas will be organic, some will be naturally harvested and some will be fairtrade certified. You must realize that organic certifications are very costly and take years to obtain and fairtrade is a for-profit organization that charges farmers a high annual fee to inspect with very little accountability of the ethics of the production. I believe it is important to drink and support direct trade teas and tea that makes you feel good. When a tea is made with great care, patience, and respect to ethics it has a higher chance of being higher quality. The tea will taste better and make you feel better. Ask questions and drink what you like! I do!
Founder/Chief Tea Taster
Loose Leaf Club