Back before I knew the difference between a black tea and an oolong tea I discovered bubble teas and tea lattes. The world of bubble tea is huge and it is a gateway into the world of tea. Indigo is a company local to me and dear to many in our community.
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA
- Over the years, we’ve spent many hours in the tea houses of East Asia sitting on tatami rice mats, sipping tea, and wondering why it was so difficult to find such places in America. Times have changed. In the past few years, Americans have begun to discover the many benefits of tea: health, relaxation, tradition, and delicious taste.
- In 2003, we opened Indigo Tea Co. with a goal to advance the “tea lifestyle” of relaxation, simplicity, and good living. Our teas are high quality, yet reasonably priced, so you can afford to drink good tea every day. We carefully sample each tea and purchase direct from growers in Asia or from large importers.
Most popular company tea(s)?
- Flavored teas (especially fruity) are always popular, especially with newcomers to tea drinking. Breakfast teas, Earl Greys, and Chai always dominate our sales. Perhaps this is due to name recognition. This past winter we saw a big increase in sales of non-caffeinated herbal blends and rooibos, probably as a way to reduce stress due to the pandemic.
Does the company name have a meaning?
- The name Indigo was meant to evoke the feeling of exotic and foreign. Years ago in Minneapolis there was an Asian and African furniture company called “Indigo” which I admired and I the name was inspired by that shop. At the time we were opening, I discovered the Indigo Tea Mysteries which took its name from an Indigo Inn in Charleston. I kept the name anyway and the connection hasn’t hurt.
Do you participate in any charities?
- Our charity donations are largely to local schools and churches.
What is your (or any of your other co-workers’) favorite tea?
- Employees usually start with sweet and fruity drinks such as bubble teas and over time their tastes mature and they start drinking pure, unflavored tea, such as a strong black tea with milk, or possibly a pure green tea. I start my day with a hearty black tea (without milk or sugar), switch to pure green or oolong teas at work, and possibly herbal in the evenings. I couldn’t pick a favorite tea, there are too many.
What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?
- The tea industry is in flux right now due to global warming and changes in labor supply. In the future we will see more mechanized harvesting in India and East Africa as workers prefer stable, year round employment in factories. China is moving to a very high end, small farm production similar to wineries, which we already see in Japan. Farmers like selling direct and online to cut out middle brokers. Organic is taking over much of the industry, so that’s good news.
What role does tea play in our lives?
- Although tea is central to my life going back to my teenage days, it is still an occasional drink for most Americans, which is why it’s a difficult business. We are selling tea in a coffee drinking country. Perhaps it is best to compare tea to wine, which is not as central to the American way of life as it is in Europe.
TeaTiff Picks: This is the first tea room I was introduced to through a friend of mine. My top two favorites are Red Hot Cinnamon Black and Evening in Missoula Herbal but I also want to mentioned their hojicha latte and their fresh fruit tea. My mouth waters just thinking about them.