Pure Leaf Artistry
Similar to grapes, tea plants (camellia sinensis) have many different cultivars, regions, processing methods, and seasons. Good tea tends to sell out very quickly and is seldom made in large quantities. Therefore, each season we work to secure exceptional-tasting leaf. We pledge to bring you teas that have great flavor, artistry and soul, and to help educate about tea origins, culture, processing and more.
All of our products are a result of establishing relationships with tea people. Though our teas mostly originate in Asia, they travel to other parts of the world as a result of our efforts. Along the way, there is a cultural exchange that takes place. The art of tea, at its highest level, involves deep appreciation for these connections. We pledge to savor our relationships as much as we do the tea itself.
Honoring Old Wisdom
Making handcrafted tea has become less common over the years as we transition to more modern, mechanized methods. In China, the roasting of green tea leaves in a wok over a fire has given way to industrialized ovens. In Taiwan, the rolling of oolong tea leaves by hand is now often done by mechanical presses that mimic these movements. The most sophisticated modern methods can probably be found in Japan, where color sorting of leaves is done by laser-guided machines. Although these methods have allowed more yield for farmers, they are a departure from some of the artisry of handcrafted teas.
Handcrafting methods, with their beauty and raw tea spirit, may be rarer these days, but they do exist with variances across cultures and landscapes. We focus on offering some old-style teas every season, and we attempt to infuse energy into these methods, and to provide channels for traditional skills to be recognized.
More Than Organic / Fair Trade
We believe in being socially conscious in our tea business. We were among the first group of tea companies to join the Fair Trade and Organic movements in the United States. Beyond these movements, it is very important to consider the larger ecosystems where tea is grown, both socially and in terms of biodiversity and sustainability. We purchase many of our teas at above-market prices and raise social premiums for tea communities. Call us to learn about our current projects.
Our teahouses, located in Portland, Oregon, are treasured spaces where we practice the art of tea on a daily basis. Serving others is, after all, a significant aspect of tea culture. Each location has its own beauty, artistic design, and essence of hospitality. We hope that you will visit and talk tea with us the next time you are in Portland.