Old Barrel Tea Company

What could possibly be more exciting than these amazing-looking spices? Their tea creations of course. They have a focus on transparent flavoring for their tantalizing blends for both teas and tisanes. Unique ingredients like bee pollen, Schisandra berries, and sweet corn kernels make OBTC a new experience for your palate!

Website: https://oldbarreltea.com/

Location Headquarters:

  • Our company started in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and we now have several locations across New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona!

Company Focus:

  • We’re a female-run, family business. We drink tea and tisanes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the time in between. We don’t put our pinkies up while drinking tea. We use honey in our tea but we also use honey as medicine & for skincare.  We love to cook & we love to eat.  We’re flavor obsessed & wellness-oriented.  We are united by the hedonistic belief that wellness should be a pleasure. Happy tea time friends! 

Most popular company tea(s)?

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • Bailey, one of our owners, is married to a winemaker. When we first opened our first store, it was in a small, shared space, and to save money on displays, we used some of the old barrels from Noisy Water Winery. In addition, when tea was imported into the United States in the 1700s, it was done in wooden barrels. 

Do you participate in any charities? If so, which one (s)?

  • We participate in many chariTEAs. We have tumblers that some of the proceeds support the American Cancer Society and Mexican Orphanages, and we have new tumblers coming soon to support other chariTEAs close to our hearts. We also had a shirt that supported Black Girls Code – it is currently sold out. In addition, each of our stores has partnered with a local chariTEA of their choosing.

What is your favorite tea?

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • Transparency in any industry is important and becoming increasingly more powerful for brands, as consumers become better educated. People have so many options now with the internet, so being able to communicate values that speak to potential customers is a big benefit – but this communication has to be honest. There are some secrets we’ll always keep though—like our recipes!  

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • We drink tea all day, every day and it’s an integral part of our wellness routine – but it is also something that feels like a treat. Tea is so special because it is something we crave that is actually good for us! And the better it makes us feel, the more we crave it. 

Social Media:


Mouth-Watering blends great for drinkers and non-drinkers alike

TeaTiff Picks: The Cocktail Box. Tea sampler sets excite me. A chance to try different teas and tisanes is always thrilling. This one I chose because I like to dabble in mixing tea and drinks. If you prefer to do it without the alcohol I’ve found that the zero-proof brands are just as good and quite fun to experiment with. This set from OBTC will prove to be a fun time and could even be used for a tea party!

Sip some tea & leave a comment

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If you already love them, tell us what you love below!

Teasenz

If you are looking for quality Chinese teas you’ve found the right company. Their website is simple yet elegant. They offer your common teas like Silver Needle, Dragon Well, and Keemun but also unique aged white tea cakes and an impressive mouth-watering sampler of Wuyi oolongs. Grab yourself a cup of tea and become tea friends (Cha You – 茶友) with Teasenz.

Website: https://www.teasenz.com/

Location Headquarters: Warehouse in Shenzhen, China. Registered in Hong Kong.

Company Focus: 

  • Our company is solely focused on authentic Chinese tea. We source our teas origin-direct from farmers in well-known Chinese tea regions.

Most popular company tea(s)? 

  • West Lake Dragon Well, Huang Shan Mao Feng, Bi Luo Chun, Jin Jun Mei, Da Hong Pao, Silver Needle, Lapsang Souchong, and Chrysanthemum tea.

Does the company name have a meaning? 

  • Our company name is ‘Teasenz’. The second part of the name ‘senz’ is derived from a combination of the words ‘sense’ and ‘zen’. Our brand represents tea as a lifestyle. 

Do you participate in any charities?  

  • No, we currently don’t.

What is your favorite tea?  

  • I always let my mood decide. And it’s likely very weather/season related as well. I love to drink dark oolong teas such as Da Hong Pao and ripe pu erh tea in the Winter season. In Spring/Summer, I love to drink light green teas such as Huang Shan Mao Feng and Anji Bai. 

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry? 

  • Transparency is important, especially for specialty tea. On our website, we disclose information such as the origin (region/province) as well as the year and season of the harvest. Then you have the fair trade aspect, which is less relevant for the Chinese tea industry, as tea pickers are fairly well paid due to labor shortages in the countryside in China. Yet, being transparent can sometimes be misused. In the end, we believe tea is all about trust. And we believe trust can only be earned through hard work and excellent execution. This starts from sourcing, selection, and curation of our teas to warehouse/inventory management and international logistics. The tea supply chain is complex and managing all facets of an international tea business is challenging. We, therefore, like to emphasize internally that we are a supply chain company, instead of a tea company.

What role does tea play in our lives? 

  • I think this depends on the individual. All employees at Teasenz love tea, and we love it so much it can be considered part of a lifestyle. But we also know that our teas aren’t for everyone, and that’s fine. We rather serve a small community of tea lovers who are truly excited about our teas.

Social Media: (just let me know which ones you have and I can grab the links)

Anything else you’d like to add?

  • We often offer free products, currently, those are:

Ceramic Snail Tea Pet

Leaf-shaped tea infuser strainer


TeaTiff Picks: Da Hong Pao. Nothing excites my tongue more than mineral or deeply roasted notes. This tea has both and more.

Is your mouth watering?

Sip some tea & leave a comment

Ordering? Be sure to tell them TeaTiff sent you!

If you already love them, tell us what you love below!

Uproot Teas

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.

Website: https://uprootteas.com/

Location Headquarters: Boulder, Colorado

Company Focus:

  • Uproot is a farm-direct, zero-waste artisan loose-leaf tea company. 

About me:

  • 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 😉 

Aloha! Experience the volcanic soil of the Big Island!

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!

Sip some tea & leave a comment

Ordering? Be sure to tell them TeaTiff sent you!

If you already love them, tell us what you love below!

MyTeaPal

The process of getting tea from the plant to your cup involves many people. While TeaTiff solely focuses on companies that sell tea I also want to mention companies that not only sell tea but have a focus on other important aspects of the tea community. For many people being able to catalog their tea, likes & dislikes, timing, etc are very important aspects of their tea journey. This app is great for all those reasons and many more. Grab a pot of tea and enjoy this interview with Vincent who created MyTeaPal.

Website: https://myteapal.com/club/

Location:

  • The company is based in Durham, North Carolina, and the founder Vincent recently moved to China to source premium teas directly from producers.

Company Focus:

  • MyTeaPal started as a mobile application for tea drinkers and then opened a tea club to connect tea drinkers from all over the world. Its mobile application has functions to time tea infusions, record tea related items, write tea journals, and share tasting notes. Its tea club gathers members from over twenty countries and aims to facilitate community discussions and spread tea culture.

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • Yes, to application users, MyTeaPal is a tea pal of theirs empowering them on their tea journey. Furthermore, on MyTeaPal, users are able to find many more like-minded tea pals from all over the world.

Do you participate in any charities? 

  • Not yet, because previously we only built a free app. Now as we started to feature more teas from Chinese tea producers, we’d like to be more involved with tea farming charities there.

What is your favorite tea?

  • My favorite tea is Sheng (Raw) Puerh. Produced in Yunnan province of China, it has much depth in its flavor, which will change over years through fermentation.

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • Over the past years, I’ve seen more tea vendors and brands sharing detailed information about their teas (particular specialty teas), which is a great thing. In China, there are efforts by some producers attaching QR codes including all the production information, and there are more standards and regulations in the market for increasing transparency. I hope to see the trend continue and will try my best contributing to that.

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • Personally speaking, besides being a beverage, tea helps me relax and become more mindful. From my experience working on tea related things (running a tea club, developing a tea app, building a tea community), I find greater meaning in tea which is about people and culture. It’s amazing and fulfilling to see users of MyTeaPal connect with each other and discuss about tea, and as a Chinese I feel even more proud and motivated to spread the culture of tea.

Social Media:

Anything else you’d like to add?

Download our app for free 🙂


TeaTiff Picks: Once my first box arrives I will update this section. Much excite.

Zen Tea Traders

Life has a way of making us slow down. Cultures around the world have or are learning to embrace a practice, in some form or another, of calm. Anthony Capobianco entered the corporate world in his early twenties and became an executive mortgage banker. Like many of his peers, he found himself stressed out. He gravitated towards tea as a way to slow down. This zen activity helped formed the building blocks of this company. Thank you, again, Mr. Capobianco for the idea of an over-the-phone interview. It was a pleasure to speak with you!

Website: https://zenteatraders.com/

Location(s) Headquarters: Austin, TX, USA.

Company Focus:

  • Bring full leaf tea to the consumers, restaurants, hotels, coffee bars, etc, and to help people step up their tea game. Our goal is to give people an experience with tea.

Most popular company tea(s)?

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • The name came from three different sources. Tea because that’s our product, Zen stems from my martial arts background. The word Zen kept showing up throughout my life and part of the mission is to help people to learn to Zen where they are at. Lastly, traders came from my uncle because he like the word. The brand is me, Anthony Capobianco.

Do you participate in any charities?

  • Not currently with Zen Tea Traders.

What is your favorite tea?  

  • Sencha. In a sencha mood.

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • At the end of the day people want to sell tea. It is what it is but I want more for my company. I know all my farmers on first name basis. Zen Tea Traders should provide a warm and fuzzy feeling, unlike some of the bigger brands out there.

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • It’s a beverage that brings people together. World leaders do business over tea. It helps you slow down, be with self, and enjoy the moment. It will provide you with a clean burning energy that not only is good for you but doesn’t have a drop.

Social Media: Steepster

Anything else you’d like to add?


Koei Matcha

TeaTiff Picks: Koei Matcha. Will add a review here when I eventually taste it but if you are looking for a suggestion, try this or the Sun Moon Lake.


 To provide an artisan tea experience that captures all the senses.

– Anthony capobianco

Sip some tea & leave a comment

Ordering? Be sure to tell them TeaTiff sent you!

If you already love them, tell us what you love below!

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