One of the recurring themes I have been seeing in these interviews is the move from big corporate jobs to working with tea. It really says something about how much we love tea. This brand new 2022 company provides a great view into the world of transparency and the problems within the tea industry while also supplying our palates with delectable tea.
Location Headquarters: Boulder, Colorado
- Uproot is a farm-direct, zero-waste artisan loose-leaf tea company.
- For me, tea has always been comfort and connection: as the first in my family to be born outside of China, I always sought out ways to bond with my relatives and bridge cultures. During summer visits to rural China, I’d sit with my aunties outside for hours and chitchat over hot cups of tea. After working in corporate consulting in my career, I’m excited to be working on something that is so personally and culturally significant to me.
- The idea for Uproot Teas first came to me in college at Dartmouth (though it would be years before I would launch the company), when I researched the commodity tea trade for a senior economics paper and learned of the inefficiencies and inequities of the industry – with centuries-old structures rooted in colonialism.
- Last summer, I moved to Colorado, quit my management consulting job, and decided to pursue my dream of building a transparent & ethical tea company.
- I then went to Hawai’i for a month to work closely with a tea farm and got to learn all about tea growing and production. It’s been a magical journey.
- Sooo excited to share that 3 months ago, Uproot Teas officially launched!!! I now have 3 farm partners I work with to handcraft artisan, loose leaf teas.
About Uproot Teas:
- Real leaves only: No tea dust nor added flavoring hiding in toxic teabags (which contain billions of microplastics!) – we celebrate and elevate the culture of drinking real, whole leaves!
- Sustainable, single-origin loose leaf teas straight from farms: We partner directly with the farmers who grow our teas, so we get the freshest artisan teas and empower farmers by putting money & power in their hands. You can learn more about our sourcing here.
- Zero-waste company: all of our packaging is 100% compostable – everything from the pouches to the shipping labels to the stickers & tape. Learn more about our compostable packaging here!
- Asian American-owned: I’m so excited to bring more representation and cultural education to an industry that is deeply tied to my heritage. As I mentioned, I grew up drinking tea as a ritual to connect with my family in China, researched the commodity tea industry in college, and worked on a tea farm last year. You can learn more about my mission to decolonize tea here.
Most popular company tea(s)?
- Makai Black Tea from Big Island, Hawai’i!
Does the company name have a meaning?
Yes! Great question. Uproot’s name has a two-fold meeting:
- On the supply side: We are uprooting the way that the antiquated, colonial tea trade created the commodity system that disempowers farmers. Instead, we partner directly with small family farms growing premium crop and practicing sustainable agriculture so that we can have delicious teas for years to come! You can read more about our partnership here.
- On the demand side: I want to uproot the way that the average US consumer experiences tea. I want to build an appreciative, tea-drinking culture that celebrates the beautiful loose leaves & flowers, the multisensorial experience of sitting down and slowing down. I can totally understand the convenience of the teabag (which wasn’t invented until the era of TV dinners in the US), but I want to replace that as the default for tea with the beautiful, nuanced culture of loose leaves here in the US!
Do you participate in any charities?
- I just launched Uproot Teas 3 months ago, so we don’t have enough money yet to donate to charities, but two causes I would love to eventually be able to contribute to are food rescue programs and adolescent women empowerment!
What is your favorite tea?
- I am on a Hojicha high right now
What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?
- We need MORE of it. Tea companies should be answering questions about from where, and how they are sourcing their teas. How the tea is grown, who grows it, and how are they paid.
What role does tea play in our lives?
- Tea is culture and connection. It’s health and wellness. I think given the world we live in and the chaos of it all, tea can provide a time and space for some slowness & softness that is much needed.
Social Media: (just let me know which ones you have and I can grab the links)
Anything else you’d like to add? (Feel free to add codes here for customers if you wish)
- Use promo code TEATIFF for 10% off 😉
TeaTiff Picks: Makai Black. Did you know that the islands of Hawai’i are a great place for growing tea? Currently, only Kaua’i and the Big Island grow tea but as more people come to find a love of tea like us I wouldn’t be surprised to find the others starting as well. The volcanic soil on the Big Island is full of nutrients and amazing flavor profiles. If you haven’t yet tried a Hawai’ian grown tea this is a great place to start!
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