John Rice, General Manager
By its very nature, loose leaf tea is one of the simplest, least ecologically damaging beverages available. I’m really not exaggerating. Probably the only less impactful beverage is plain water. At least, it can and should be that way. Loose leaf tea offers the opportunity to have the beverages you drink produce virtually zero waste. The tea itself even makes excellent compost after steeping and it can be prepared without using disposable products, such as using teapots and reusable infuser baskets. The only waste left is the container the tea itself is packaged in. Which brings me to one of my main points.
I want to encourage everyone to look at the packaging their tea comes in. Does it appear there is more cost, time… and waste… put into what contains the tea than the tea itself? Our mission at The Tea Table is not only to provide quality tea, but to do so as economically as possible. One beauty of loose leaf tea is that it requires remarkably little cost and waste in packaging. Simply put, it is necessary to protect the tea from air and light. It helps to identify and describe the tea, as well as provide steeping instructions, but a simple, house printed label can do that. So, a good, resealable foil bag and a simple label is all that is REALLY needed. There is absolutely zero benefit to anything more. Fancy tins that could be reused, but end up in the landfill, eye-catching printed packages and glittering marketing materials are nothing more than expenses and waste that must be paid for, but have no benefit to the actual tea.
The popularity of tea is growing rapidly in North America, and that means a growing domination by heavily marketed, over-packaged teas that are often, to be honest, rather mediocre and overpriced. The Tea Table is one of the oldest, small, independent tea sellers, but we are only one of many. So, I want to encourage everyone, when they go online and search for loose leaf tea to purchase, to move beyond those first few, big name sellers and explore the MANY small, independent sellers.
When you purchase tea from The Tea Table, the cost of what you buy is almost entirely tea. Our resealable foil bag packaging is ideally suited for tea storage and costs less than $0.50. Even the larger packages of a pound or more are only slightly more than that. We have no three-letter executives or consulting boards. The employees who prepare and package your order do it only after you place it and the same ones who hand write a “Thank You” on every invoice also earn an hourly wage that is 50-70% higher than the person behind the counter at the local coffee/tea conglomerate. I point that out because The Tea Table is not just a business, more importantly we are an employer.
Will drinking loose leaf tea save the world? Probably not, but it won’t hurt. It’s a great, healthy way to get away from sugary drinks as well as cut down on clutter and wasteful packaging.