The year was 2017. A certain company appeared on Kickstarter. Out of curiosity I decided to back it. After receiving my tea pledge I immediately became a fan. My dad is a Navy Vet so being able to support a company like this is extra special to me. They source truly special teas from amazing places.
Company Name: Rakkasan Tea Company
Location: Dallas, Texas. Online and in these locations.
Unlike most premium loose-leaf tea companies focused on China, India, Japan and Taiwan, we promote peace and economic development by importing solely from post-conflict countries. Tea makers in countries like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Rwanda and Colombia produce tea with a high level of craftsmanship, but they typically need help reaching U.S. consumers. That’s what we do.
Most popular company tea(s)?
People lose their minds over spiced chai. It’s by far our single best-selling category. Until recently, we only offered Himalayan Spiced Chai from Nepal. But last week we launched Trưng Sisters Mountain Chai from Vietnam. Customers also really love our variety of tea sampler packs. They’re especially good for people just getting into tea.
Does the company name have a meaning?
Rakkasan is the World War II era Japanese word for parachute (transliterated as “falling down umbrella”). It comes from the 187th Parachute Infantry Regiment’s occupation of Japan after the war. That unit is now a brigade in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the Rakkasans. My company co-founder and I served as Rakkasans together in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Do you participate in any charities?
Aside from assisting small farmers in post-conflict countries to reach the U.S. market, we haven’t aligned with any specific charities yet.
What is your (or any of your other co-workers) favorite tea?
Hard to say. They’re like our children. We’ve tried hundreds of teas and the 40 we offer, we chose for a specific reason. Black teas are usually my go-to and I’ve been drinking a lot of Mandalay Black and Mughal Horseman’s Tea lately. My co-founder Terrence “TK” Kamauf drinks more green tea than I do and has been into Paksong Stardust recently (our meteoric soil tea). But he’s also been drinking Himalayan Golden Tips since we first got it over three years ago.
What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?
We put a lot of effort into tracking down the best tea makers in post-conflict countries. So we don’t always publicly broadcast who they are. But we’ll gladly tell any customer who wants to know where their tea comes from and how it’s made. I tend to stay out of the ongoing debate over transparency.
What role does tea play in our lives?
I tend to look at coffee as the “go” drink and tea as the “stop” drink. Coffee is for super-charging your day as you head to the office. Tea is for relaxing and reflecting. Tea is also a much more social drink. Tea is meant for spending time with friends and family and enjoying good conversation. I usually make tea in the afternoon (when I have time), but also most evenings.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We just launched our first major video ad with some American Revolution humor.
“Tea so good you won’t throw it in the harbor”
TeaTiff Picks: Rakkasan, I hope you never tire of me because I am a huge fan. As I mentioned before my dad is a Navy Vet so being able to support a company that also supports Vets is very special to me. There are many teas that I love, Calima Coconut, Mekong Breakfast, but my all time favorite is H’mong Kings. Every time I open the can I feel like I can smell the wok it was roasted in. You can tell the hard work and devotion it took to make the tea just by looking at the leaves. The taste is astounding.