Meet Our Partners: Portland Vendors

Dear Portland customers: Occasionally you have asked us where, outside of our tea shops, you can look for The Tao of Tea tins, tea bags, and other products. Here are just a few of our partnering locations:

Thank you, Portland tea lovers!

 

The Tao of Tea Wins New Product in Hot Beverage sofi™ Awards

3,000 Products Competed for Top Specialty Food Association Award

PRESS RELEASE:

Sofi_OMT_img_mdAt the recently concluded sofi™ Awards, hosted by the Specialty Food Association™, Portland company The Tao of Tea was awarded Best New Product in the Hot Beverage category. The product selected was Oregon Mint & Tulsi, an organic herbal beverage packaged in 15 count boxes of biodegradable pyramid sachets.

The sofis, which stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation, is considered a top honor in the specialty food industry. The Tao of Tea was one of 154 Winners selected by a national panel of 62 specialty food experts from 3,000 entries across 39 categories. Every entry is carefully judged on taste, ingredient quality, and innovation.

In December, The Tao of Tea launched its first line of quality, organic tea sachets—a new step after a long history of offering loose leaf teas. Oregon Mint & Tulsi is one of 10 new products being offered. The sachet line has had a positive response as it has made its way to customers and retailers in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ve been excited to take all we’ve learned from our years selecting high quality teas and apply it to making a really diverse, delicious line of organic tea bags,” said owner Veerinder Chawla. “It is a wonderful thing to see the response and to be recognized by the sofi Awards.”

The Tao of Tea is now planning to embark on a national distribution campaign and is in the process of finding specialty food brokers and distribution across the country. They will be showing their product at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York in late June.

Questions about the new product line can be directed to info@taooftea.com / 503.736.0198.

Specialty Food Association Media Contact: press@specialtyfood.com / 646-878-0130.

We’re Hiring!

Chinese Teahouse Shift Lead

The Tao of Tea is seeking a full-time teahouse staff to work at one of Portland’s greatest attractions, the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Please read the entire job posting, including availability requirements and how to apply as incomplete applications will not be considered. This position will remain open until filled.

Reports to: Chinese Teahouse Manager

Purpose of Position: Provide a high level of customer service to visitors to the teahouse by serving on the floor, working in the kitchen, and selling retail. Monitor and improve flow of service, efficiency, and organization. Report on a daily/shift basis to Teahouse Manager.

Position Scope: This is a very hands-on, full-time position, primarily involving regular serving shifts, as well as some managerial oversight. Interacting with coworkers, visitors, Garden members, Garden staff, and Garden volunteers in a positive and educated way creates good experiences for all.

Hours: Varies with the season. Not less than 30 hours a week in the off-season and not to exceed 10 hours a day / 40 hours a week, except under special circumstances such as evening events. Must be available to work on summer-season evenings (March 15 – October 31, until 8:00 pm), on weekends, on holidays, and for after-hours events. The Garden is closed only a few days a year.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Become fully knowledgeable about the extensive menu, particularly the wide variety of teas and tea preparations.
  • Become able to represent both The Tao of Tea and the Lan Su Chinese Garden, providing visitors with accurate information about both.
  • Follow daily financial procedures, including balancing the cash drawer with cash register report and maintaining proper cash and supply levels.
  • Assist in training new employees.
  • Demonstrate skillful manner of solving customer issues.
  • Demonstrate ability to address safety and sanitation concerns.
  • Attend to and assign side-work to keep the teahouse clean and orderly at all times.
  • Ensure that the teahouse is stocked for the oncoming shift.
  • Assist the Teahouse Manager in running a delightful teahouse environment.

Experience & Expectations

  • Enthusiastic about tea.
  • Experience with POS system.
  • Food handlers permit and OLCC certification.
  • Two-years restaurant experience.
  • Able to participate in special events as needed.
  • Able to stand for extended periods of time.
  • Able to multi-task.
  • Able to carry heavy trays.
  • Able to lift up to 30lbs.
  • Able to maintain cleanliness and organization of teahouse, including kitchen and retail.

Application Procedure

Email a cover letter summarizing your qualifications and indicating your interest in this position, along with a current resume to evonne@taooftea.com. No phone calls and drop-ins. Receipt of application materials will be acknowledged. Applications accepted until position is filled.

The Premier Collection: Pyramid Sachets

We are so excited to share our new pyramid sachets, which are now available on the website and in select retail stores. The Premier Collection is a line of 8 organic whole leaf teas with the convenience of tea bag brewing! Check out our offerings below:

Sen-Matcha | Jasmine Pearls | Bollywood | Wild Black

Italian Earl Grey | Oregon Mint & Tulsi | 500 Mile Chai | Darjeeling Heritage

Premiere Collection

Meet Our Partner: Arrowhead Chocolates

Arrowhead Chocolates is one of our partners who truly exemplifies the magic that can happen when tea meets dessert. Founded in 2010, they are a Good Food Award-winning, family-owned business located in Joseph, Oregon. Arrowhead makes small batches of hand-crafted chocolates with an emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, and authentic, outstanding flavor.

Recently we enjoyed a delicious variety box of chocolates, which included everything from whisky to coconut to lavender-honey flavored truffles, with a quality we could taste. We were pleased to see how our Chai and Earl Grey were integrated in their artisan truffles. The flavors did not disappoint. Here’s what Arrowhead Chocolates had to share about their product:

AC_20TBox_TaliaWhat was your inspiration for adding tea to your chocolates? Our goal is to make delicious, richly flavored chocolates using all natural, high quality ingredients. We’re also a cafe, serving tea, coffee, and chocolate drinks, so it was a natural progression for us to start experimenting with tea infusions in our chocolates. We’ve had so much fun working with different kinds of tea, and we appreciate Tao of Tea’s willingness to provide us with custom blends specifically tailored to our chocolate recipes.

What is your philosophy around the type of chocolates you make? We love rich, authentic flavor and natural, true ingredients sourced close to home whenever possible. Our mission statement is “To make great products in a way that creates joy for our customers and ourselves” and we work hard to stay true to this goal. Joyful chocolate making for us includes high standards, diligence, teamwork, and lots of passion in all that we do. 

Arrowheadchocolates.com – They ship their chocolates everywhere! People can order online, or contact them via their website for custom orders.

Street Address:
100 N Main
Mailing Address:
PO Box 429
Joseph, OR 97846

The Power of Diversity

Staff Image 1

Dear Friends and Tea Drinkers,

One of the most enjoyable aspects of The Tao of Tea working environment is its multiculturalism. It is a place where Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, African Americans, Somali refugees, Caucasian Americans, Nepalis, Indians, Hispanics, and other individuals come together to work, drink tea, share meals and build relationships.

We have learned through tea that celebrating diversity and mutual respect are essential rules for workplaces, not the exception. As a company, The Tao of Tea stands against bigotry and any form of discrimination. More than ever, we want to acknowledge the value and power of diversity and denounce actions that promote exclusivity, such as the recently announced travel ban and any rhetoric that divides people on superficial levels.

We send good wishes to all and remain an open and inclusive company.

-Veerinder Chawla, Founder of The Tao of Tea

Inside Our Tea Brewery: Bottled Tea Production

Bottles at the Tao of Tea BreweryFor those of you who enjoy the sights and sounds of a factory in action, we recently made a video of our micro tea brewery during a production run of The Tao of Tea bottled teas. We brew our ready-to-drink teas in small batches at our North Portland facility, using only whole leaf teas and herbs rather than concentrates. See the process from the brewing stage to packaging.

We currently offer 11 flavors: Gunpowder Mint, Oregon Berry Black, Osmanthus Oolong, Tippy Assam, Tulsi Lavender, Tulsi Pure, Tulsi Ginger, Cape Town Rooibos, Lemon Myrtle, Lapsang Souchong, and Darjeeling.

 

Tea Sourcing from Assam and Beyond

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Recently the BBC published an article about poor working and living conditions at an estate in the Assam region that supplies some of the largest tea companies in the world. Naturally, this has led to an influx of tea drinkers questioning the tea sourcing practices of the companies from which they buy their tea.

We recently discussed this issue internally at The Tao of Tea. One perspective that came up was that it is not simply the onus of the estate owners to improve the conditions, but also (and perhaps especially) of the large companies that buy from them. Many of the major tea companies pay around $5 per kilo (1000 grams) of tea from an estate like this. There is a huge profit margin for that company and not for the estate. When tea companies are ordering massive quantities and making massive profits, one way to look at it is that that they have an opportunity to do something right by paying a higher price per kilo.

assamA note about tea sourcing and economics: Doing the math on what a tea company can make paying $5 a kilo is rather alarming! Consider 1000 grams parsed out into tea bags that each contain 2 grams or less. In the US, a typical box of teabags may only contain 15 teabags (28 grams) and sell for $10 or more. This can translate to the customer paying roughly $320 for the same kilo of tea that started at $5. Could some of this money be used to fund improvements and repairs for tea workers? Also worth noting from all of this is that full leaf teas tend to offer a better value for consumers than bagged.

We are proud to work with many well known tea gardens in Assam. Among them is the Putharjhora Tea Garden. The owner, Binod Mohan, has been a pioneer in the organic and biodynamic tea movements of Assam. There are good things happening in Assam, just as there are problems that affect this and every tea region. We buy our teas in smaller batches, often paying more than $75-$100 / kg and not the typical $5 / kg. We have a relationship with our farms and examine each new tea we order for quality and flavor.

Thanks to the customers who have asked questions about sourcing and awakened an interesting and important discussion.

Free Gift While Supplies Last

Currently on the Tao of Tea website, we are offering a free gift to retail customers with every online purchase.  This offer is for as long as supplies last.  Gifts may vary.  Keep an eye out for a possible surprise with your next order of tea or teaware, and thanks, as always, for enjoying the wonderful world of tea with us.

“I just received my latest order of tea with a surprise gift inside.  Thank you so much!  It was so unexpected and so delightful. I just wanted to thank you for providing such a large assortment of the most delicious and interesting teas.  I am trying a new one this order, and look forward to many more ‘tea adventures’.  There is nothing like curling up with a book of interest and the gentle Oregon rain outside, with a yummy cup of your tea.  Thank you for leading such joy and good health through your products.”
 -Laurie Marzell, N.D.

 

 

McMenamins Craft Brewing with Teas from Tao of Tea

Over the years, teas and herbal infusions have been used in many culinary (and mixology-related) endeavors, from cocktails to ice creams, soups, cakes, etc.   Recently, Drew Phillips, a brewer of delicious ales at McMenamins Crystal Brewery in Portland, has done some particularly fun experimenting with Tao of Tea products in his craft brewing.  He writes:

jeanne2

Jeanne (Quan, a wonderfully enthusiastic broker for the Tao, pictured left) deftly navigated the Tao of Tea’s product line for me when I was looking to diversify my ale offerings. I’ve since used green cardamom, the hibiscus-ginger blend, lemon myrtle, and pine smoked black tea for five distinct brews, all of which have been featured in festivals and special events. Though using ingredients outside of hop varieties is not a new concept, it’s pretty staggering to think of all the new styles and flavor profiles that a brewer could create with even a quarter of the herbs and teas Tao offers. I’m only five deep into the catalog, and can’t wait to revisit and tweak the beers I’ve already made, much less move on the next ones. Tao of Tea basically eliminated the chance of me ever getting in a rut with my recipes.

The Wild Fermented Raspberry Hibiscus ale (pictured above) will be featured at the upcoming Organic Brewers Festival in Overlook Park, August 13-16, here in Portland, OR.  Visit Drew the brewer there or at McMenamins and give it a try!  We think this is a tasty sweet-tart fruity beer perfect for a summer day in Portland.

DrewPhillips

From the McMenamins site: Lloyd “Drew” Phillips is a member of the team at Crystal Brewery. After working at McMenamins for a few years as a pub worker and assistant manager at East Vancouver Pub and Kennedy School Courtyard Restaurant, Drew moved to Edgefield in 2012 as a seasonal brewery assistant. Shortly after, his passion and desire to learn carried him into a full-time brewing position at Edgefield until 2014, when he moved to the Crystal Brewery.

New Tao of Tea Website!

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We are excited to share our new website and blog. We hope it will make it easier for tea lovers to learn about our teas, teahouses, and to use our online ordering system. If you are familiar with our old site, there are a number of new features to be aware of when using the new one.

  • Improved Tea Ordering – Many features have been improved for better navigation and ordering. Drop down menus in our shop make it easy to search teas by style and origin. Previous customers will see that past orders and Leaf Point usage are now tracked with a history in your account settings.
  • Wholesale Quick Order Form – We’ve added a quick order form so that our repeat Wholesale customers may place an order all from one page.
  • A New Blog – A place for musings on new teas, videos from our travels in tea-producing countries, maps of tea regions, information on tea processing and brewing, etc. Along with our other social media (Facebook ,Twitter, and Instagram), our blog will offer a window into the happenings at our home base here in Portland, Oregon.
  • Teahouse Calendar Our Portland teahouses and retail store offer a variety of events such as cultural music, tea tastings, tea talks, etc. Check our calendar for upcoming events.
  • World Tea Club – We will offer World Tea Club teas again in the future. All previous World Tea Club memberships will still be honored.