Monday, April 18, 2011

Teatulia

Teatulia
With more tea companies popping up everyday, it can be a bit of a blur trying to distinguish one from another, but earlier this year I got a chance to try tea from Teatulia and noted the brightness and freshness of the product. Not long after I met Linda Appel Lipsius, a co-founder and CEO of the company and was even more impressed by the lofty goals of the company. The reason the tea tastes so fresh? With tea there are generally lots of middlemen, but with Teatulia because it's all estate grown, there are none so you can be assured of the quality. The company is equally committed to environmental sustainability and the economic well being of their workers, in particular to the women who are growing the tea and managing the estate.

Teatulia tea comes from a single estate in Northern Bangladesh, which was founded in 2000. They sell black, green, white and herbal teas, all produced and certified organic. Teatulia is a tea garden, but with the goal of being an enterprise that gives the people working it, primarily women, a living wage. It's also a place to experiment with new cooperatives, like the one that allows members to receive a milking cow and pay for it with milk and cow dung, instead of cash. All the tea ingredients are grown on the estate, as well as fresh produce including rice, mangoes and hibiscus for the workers to use and to sell.

A lovely video about the company and their tea estate:



When it comes to environmental issues, Teatulia really goes the extra mile. Their tea is available loose leaf and also in bags and they use compostable corn for the tea bags and compostable eucalyptus for the tea bag wrappers. The inks used are water based, and the labels made from recycled paper.

The Teatulia tea I am most excited about is a blend with tulsi, an antioxidant rich ayurvedic herb that has a rich cinnamon like flavor. It's good hot or cold and is sometimes compared to Indian chai. It's a nice variety to literally spice things up now and again. Their white tea is a top seller, and has a very fresh, clean finish. It's never musty or bland. Other varieties include their version of Earl Grey (which uses bergamot from the estate), a breakfast tea, their signature black tea, a version with neem, green tea, white tea, lemongrass and ginger herbal infusions. I recommend the medley, so you can try them all.