Located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is our first tea company from the country of Georgia! With the help of amazing companies we will see some amazing teas come from this country. Thank you, Renegade Tea Estate, for being a company that stands for the people and heading such an amazing project.
Location(s) Headquarters : Gumati village, Tskaltubo municipality, Imereti, Georgia.
- Our motto is “It’s not our tea we are selling to you, it’s your tea we are growing for you!” and this is what defines our everyday focus. We grow the tea organically, without any pesticides, herbicides or other harmful chemicals, the tea is hand-picked to provide the best quality and produced in our small factory by either Tomas or Hannes. Whatever is done with the tea during the process is always written on the package and you can even come and see for yourself how your tea is grown and produced.
Most popular company tea(s)?
- Renegade Black – The most typical Georgian black tea which is naturally sweet and fruity and quite smooth, doesn’t have a lot of tannins. Many people who don’t like black tea, have been surprised by the mellow taste.
Does the company name have a meaning?
- Per se, Renegade is not necessarily a positive name. It is often referred to as an outlaw, deserter or something similarly negative. Usually, people don’t like disruptors, who do things differently and disregard the traditions or generally accepted behaviors. Still, we felt that exactly this name – Renegade – is the one that best characterizes the nature of our company.
- Firstly, because of ourselves – leaving our comfortable office careers to become tea farmers overnight in a different country does feel a bit unorthodox.
- Secondly, from the very beginning, we didn’t want to be a regular tea company. We want to avoid growing into a big anonymous corporation. We do not measure our success by how many international awards we win, our goal is to build the most authentic small tea estate you can find which has a close and active community of tea lovers around the world. We want to be tea farmers, hands in the dirt, wearing rubber boots and we want to be tea producers, discovering new angles of Georgian tea every year. And we want to stay like this. More information about our name can be found here: https://www.renegadetea.com/blogs/renegade-rumblings/we-are-the-renegades
Do you participate in any charities?
- We do not participate actively in any charity right now, but we try to give our part by helping the local community on a daily basis. We offer jobs to the people from nearby villages, so they do not have to leave their villages behind due to lack of employment. The villages in our region haven’t had stable job opportunities since the tea industry collapsed and many people have left to the cities or abroad. We hope that with the jobs we offer, the villages will not go completely empty. We also cooperate with youth centers and orphanages to offer them free tours and tea.
What is your (or any of your other co-workers’) favorite tea?
- There are many favorites, but I think for our team the favorite is Lazy Morning – a fresh and floral oolong that opened up the world of oolong teas for us.
What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?
- At the very beginning, there were two things that convinced us to become tea farmers. Firstly, seeing the hundreds of abandoned tea plantations just laying around in Western Georgia.
- Secondly, understanding how the tea world is dominated by big whole-sellers and middlemen. A package of tea at the regular supermarket can easily say that it was “Made in Germany” without any other specifications. We, as consumers, often do not know where the tea is coming from, how and by whom it was grown and produced, and how clean or safe it is. At the same time, with the big players setting the rules on the market, very little recognition and profits get to the people who have grown and produced the tea. Even with the international certifications, the workers hardly ever get a fair paycheck for the work they do.
- The lack of transparency was one of the main things that motivated us to start as a tea farm and to do things differently. Our aim is to be one of the most transparent tea estates out there, so our customers would really know and trust us. The other important thing for us is to provide jobs for the local community, so they would earn a proper living and not leave for the cities, leaving the village behind.
What role does tea play in our lives?
- Tea has a powerful ability to calm us down in this hectic world, invigorate when we need more energy. It can be consumed alone in complete tranquility and at the same time, it brings together friends from around the world, no matter what is your background. It really is one magical thing
Anything else you’d like to add?
- Renegade Tea Estate is a tea farm in Georgia (the country, not the state in the USA) that was established by a group of Estonians and a Lithuanian who got tired of the daily rat race in the corporate world. We decided to change our office careers for rubber boots to help to save the abandoned tea plantations of Georgia.
- Georgian tea has a centuries-long history, and just 30 years ago, it was one of the biggest tea producers in the world. At peak, in 1985, ca 70, 000 hectares of land was under tea plantations and 150 ,000 tons of tea was produced in Georgia, compared to the 2000-3000 tons made today. The heyday was abruptly ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The industry crashed in only 5 short years. Big factories were closed and whole regions lost their employment as Georgia dealt with the aftershocks that the fall of the Soviet Union sent through the region. The tea industry lost its main export market – unable to compete with Sri Lanka and China on the newly opened market of former Soviet Republics. The shortage of knowledge on how to operate a company in a market economy became fatal for most of the factories and cooperatives. Hundreds of tea plantations were abandoned together with huge factories that were scattered around the whole of western Georgia. This sorry state of affairs has lasted for the past 25 years. We want to give our part to help to bring Georgian tea back to the world map by rehabilitating abandoned tea plantations and introducing Georgian tea to the world.
More information about Georgian tea you can find here:
TeaTiff Picks: Lazy Morning. Being a mom and the type of person who works out in the morning, I don’t really have lazy mornings. But this sounds nice. I can’t wait to give the 2021 version a try.
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