ALL OUR Blogs
We like to write about our encounters and experiences. Below you find short blog posts about Why We Rebel, Our Crowdfunding Campaign to build a school in Nepal, tips and tricks about how to brew great winter cocktails and summer cold brew teas as well as blogs about how to be well with tea including health benefits of particular teas. Oh yes and we also share our experience participating at Tea Festivals. We hope they will be back soon. With Love Tea Rebellion
Over the past few months, we have connected with some of our tea farmers to talk climate, nature, biodiversity and tea growing to hear about what regenerative tea farming practices are promising to help decarbonise tea while restoring soils and get other natural co-benefits.The following are practices that we have seen & that restore soil, preserve water and moisture and microbial activity and thereby help to build system productivity and climate and nature resilience.
The UK is the place for tea - or is it? On October 14-16 2022, UK Specialty tea brands have come together to launch “THIS IS TEA”. This is a three day tea festival in the heart of London at Canopy Market. Program details include a panel discussion on "Sustainability in Tea : What does it mean?" This will be followed by a Tea Cocktail competition judged by a jury and by you the public.
During our trip out to Satemwa in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, we decided to join the Satemwa Tree Planting Club. This program supports nutritional, income & natural climate solution objectives for smallholders' living around Satemwa. This is exactly the kind of intervention we want to see more of in Sub-Saharan Africa and in sustainable & regenerative food systems.
This year I visited Satemwa - our Malawian tea partner and maker of nine of our teas. For Tea Rebellion, our partnership with Satemwa is unique in many ways; it's the largest of our partner farms with 980 hectares under tea production and has the highest number of tea workers with up to 2,500 in the peak season. Satemwa is set up for hosting visitors so we stayed on the farm and enjoyed the 4-day tea education action-packed program. Discover how Satemwa is addressing the sizeable challenges of an uncertain tea future given low prices for CTC tea and climate change in Malawi. If you are a tea buyer you have a role to drive change in the sector. PLEASE READ ON AND SHARE!
Today is an important day. It's the day that we celebrate the breathtaking planet that we call our home! As the guardians of valuable natural assets, (tea) farmers are a key part of the transition we need to see on this planet. Let's help farmers create (and get paid for) carbon sinks and biodiverse habitats. Stay tuned as we share from our learnings in this space.
We got nominated as Best Tea Company for the upcoming London Coffee Festival. Now we are in in the public vote stage (closes March 6), our aim is to make it among the top three most voted so that we become a finalist. As you might imagine we are up against some tea incumbents. Every vote helps for our social impact start-up. Vote for us here
Have you wondered how to pair your tea with food? Are you having family or friends over for brunch, lunch or dinner and would love to share some of your tea favourites on these occasions? Here is a run-down on our pairing experience over the past years. We offer five easy to adopt pairing tips.
For many of us who are big tea festival fans the pandemic has prevented us from attending tea festivals. We missed the the rich source of community, learning and exchange. When ever have tea enthusiasts walked into a room full of people who care just as much about the 2nd most common beverage on earth? Yes exactly, its rare and hence the opportunity to attend these events was something we all deeply cherish. One of the hopes for 2021 and 2022 are that tea festivals are back and are embracing all the new innovations in format and technology that will make them possible and ever evolving to be both climate friendly and safe for all of us.
A few days ago on Friday May 21 we celebrated International Tea Day 2021. This day was launched in 2005 by trade unions and workers' organizations. Since 2019 the day is celebrated by the UN to recognize the hard work that annually goes into the spring harvests around this time of year. #Internationalteaday is a big day for tea lovers on a mission like us @ Tea Rebellion and for the wider Tea Community out there. We had the great pleasure to host a chat with many tea friends on our #clubhouse Tea Rebellion Social Club. For those of you seeking a more casual conversation (in your work out pants if you like) and tea community do join us. We are talking weekly at 3 pm and here is a link to join Clubhouse and our weekly events. It's a refreshing change from the pandemic induced video/zoom frenzy around us (smile).
What does astrology and a good cup of tea have in common? Tea and astrology have been around for centuries, and yet, they they are both very relevant today. The right tea can build longevity, further creativity and maintain health. It can improve brain function and provide energy. Tea also has numerous benefits that work to improve mental health. We can use tea to better ourselves and understand others. Astrology can be used to indicate compatibility, and while it’s no exact science, we are hopeful that you will be encouraged to celebrate what makes each of us unique, make friends and step outside your comfort zone. In a world wrought with pandemic worry and uncertainty, astrology has emerged as a comfort among both young and old. Astrology introduces us to parts of ourselves; we have gained guidance and advice, insight into our relationships and our future.
Tea Rebellion participated in its first ever European tea competition in 2020. We are calling it “European” as it takes place in beautiful Paris. However, AVPA is really a Teas of the World Contest. AVPA, or “Agence pour la Valorisation des Produits Agricoles” reviews premium quality primary products such teas, coffee, olive oils to find striking profiles (rather than a consensual sensory profile). As such it’s a gastronomic rather than standardized evaluation. The jury is composed of tea professionals and tea sommeliers. The AVPA “Teas of the World” contest is organized in two very distinct parts: Monovarietal teas (Camellia sinensis) Infusions (infusion plants other than Camellia Sinensis), blends and flavoured tea
Since I launched Tea Rebellion in 2017 one of the questions that keeps arising among food entrepreneurs is whether Plant-based packaging is worth it. Here is the debate: Currently in Canada (and I am sure in many other countries too), municipalities do not have the advanced recycling and composting capabilities that we will help us ensure that more complex level of recycling (such as as Level 7) and composting fully happens in the public waste disposal system. For this reason, there is a hot debate amongst people in the food industry (packing companies, distributors, brands) on whether it is worth investing into compostable packaging. The argument goes, if it does not happen in the end, why should we spend the extra money?
We are participating in an awesome collaboration to help spread the knowledge and love for African artisanal teas and support our partner farms out there. What do you know about Malawi? People sometimes get the location confused and others might recall that Madonna adopted several kids from there.
Tea Rebellion is supporting its farm partners by creating a Farm Fund. In the past months, COVID-19 has grown into a global pandemic that is unsettling our lives and has caused hardship around the world. WE ARE UNITED in going through this together with you and our tea partners farmers. We have been thinking about how we might help – and we are naturally well placed to support our tea partners all around the world from the Himalayas in Nepal to Southern Africa in Malawi.
Tea has long been known to provide us with a lot of health benefits. From boosting immunity to feeling more energetic, around the world tea and herbal infusions are widely believed to be good for mind, body and even soul. Whether it be our physical, emotional, or mental health, many a tea lovers enjoy the ritual of brewing and sipping teas to feel relaxed and at their best. But, which teas are best for what? We did some research and are sharing out findings on tea health benefits…. here we go…
People have been drinking tea for about five thousand years, and it is likely they have been reading the leaves of our favourite beverage for as long. Tasseomancy is believed to have begun with the ancient Chinese, who read the residue at the bottom of their cups for patterns, signs, and omens. As tea became more popular and started to make its way around the world, so too did tea leaf reading. And in the 1600s it quickly started to outshine other, older ways for divining the future.
Tumeric was all kinds of things before it became tea. For a long time it was used in Indian cooking and in Chinese medicine. Only recently has the Western world discovered its benefits. Now there is a increasing attention on how to add Tumeric to our daily routines. This is because of its active ingredient called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammation and anti-antioxidant benefits and is confirmed to be beneficial against a lot of ailments (incl cancer),
2020 was our third time participating at the Toronto Tea Festival. We like to recap this event for our own benefit and that of our readers. Maybe you have already read a few recaps of this years’ event? Well this one is a bit different…. read on for a behind the scenes perspective of what goes into planning and preparing for this annual event on behalf of Tea Rebellion.
German holiday traditions are widely held up as pretty unique and beautiful – on top of this ranks the German Christmas markets which are outdoors, so atmospheric and full of delicious smells and treats. These markets are somewhat magical and really something that gets us into the holiday mood almost immediately.
Many of us tea lovers have discovered a love for different types of tea through the English tradition of “Afternoon Tea” or “High Tea“. And for this, we are of course forever grateful!In this blog, we daringly focus our attention on this most traditional of British traditions and pose the question” Where is the Tea in Afternoon Tea?First, let’s look at the origins of this tea tradition. While we use the term “Afternoon Tea” and “High Tea” interchangeably outside the UK, the historical roots are quite different:
Tea Rebellion has a mission to rebel, raise, and trade tea! Rebel against how it is consumed and acquired. Raise the bar by providing authentic, quality tea. Trade directly with family farms and partners to provide a wholesome business practice. They strive to have relationships with the tea farmers and make sure that their farmers are treated ethically and fairly. They sent me seven different teas to review.
Who of you has missed a big milestone (wedding anniversary is the classic but there are others – such as your company launch date!). To me October 17 was Tea Rebellion’s Two Year Anniversary, then Facebook reminded me that it was actually October 11. So, I am a few days late. Ooops – well this is how busy start-up life is!
When Tea Rebellion was approached by Daphne Gorden, writer for LiisBeth magazine, which focuses on activism, action and feminist practices, we were very intrigued. The article Daphne crafted from talking to several of our partner farmers, the founder and the core team focuses on trade transparency and our direct trade model.
We (Tracy, Nishchal and Annabel) raised $10,000 with your amazing help through our crowdfunding campaign (#keepkidssafeandclose) to build a small school for the Kanchanjangha cooperative tea farmers kids in Nepal. The funds were raised end of 2018 and the school was build January to April 2019 and is now almost finished. That’s amazing and we are very proud and thankful to all of you! As we have a strong belief in complete transparency, this post is about the challenges we encountered when executing this project! Since April we have hit some hurdles which have slowed us down somewhat:
It’s summer and we like our teas to reflect that too! Yes, apparently it is really good for you to to drink teas hot even in high temperatures in order to have your body do the cooling down, BUT Canadian summers do get very very hot! We are out an about and we want a refreshing, pure drink. Here we go! Nothing easier than that when you have amazing tea leaves to hand. God on to read our 3 Tips on how to brew fiercely authentic summer teas at home the easy way! Enjoy
Tea Rebellion is a Canadian brand working directly with local tea farmers and masters, providing us with quality tea while impacting the workers and their communities in a positive way. Most consumers (including me!) aren’t aware of the working and living conditions throughout the tea industry. Picking tea leaves for expensive tea blends, is a very long and daunting process. Sadly, despite the long hours and hard work in the tea gardens, the workers hardly make enough money to live. If you want to learn more about the tea trade, watch this free documentary on YouTube.
I was apprehensive about travelling to Japan. Why? My prior experience in 2005 creates some personal baggage, allegorically speaking. In 2005 I attended an international development meeting which took place in Tokyo, and then took the weekend to venture out to Kyoto by myself. Of course, I was mesmerized by the culture. Yet I also felt so incredibly foreign and helpless. The simple task of boarding the Shinkansen and later finding my hotel in Kyoto was, well overwhelming!
Again and again we have been asked whether we have a tea lovers’ club. Well now we do! ….Our Authentic Tea Lovers Club is a fantastic way to try a wide range of our fiercely authentic teas. All our teas are bold, pure and united.
We have great news! Tea Rebellion has participated the first time ever in a tea competition! We entered several teas to be judged blindly (no branding) by tea lovers for the upcoming Toronto Tea Festival. Guess what? We won across several tea categories! This is of course all due to the amazing teas crafted by our partner farms! Yes, the rebellion for fiercely authentic tea is gaining
One of the most frequent questions we get when new customers look at our tea selection is “What is Purple Tea”. We thought this topic deserves it’s own blog. So, what is purple tea and why should we be drinking it? Purple Tea is a cultivar of Camellia Sinensis Assamica. Its called Purple Tea because the tea bushes naturally grow leaves that have a purple leaf colour. This is all natural and not a product of genetic modification. The Kenyan Research Institute has been working with this purple cultivar for a while now and small scale Kenyan farmers planted the first seed in 2011.
Our big anniversary news is revealed! To mark our milestone we are raising $10,000 through crowdfunding to build a small school in the Himalayas, Nepal to help the co-operative families of our tea partner Kanchanjangha keep their Kids Safe and Close.
Our social impact venture is ONE YEAR OLD TODAY, and counting! We are beyond thrilled to celebrate this milestone with you and would not be here without your amazing taste in tea. Over the past year, one of the most memorable highlights has been meeting our supporters, you, at markets throughout Toronto and learning, tasting and talking all things tea. Thank you for choosing to join and support us on this journey. We would also like to thank our unique, transparent and authentic tea partners in Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, Kenya and Malawi.
Curious to know how our founder, Annabel, spent her time learning about all things Oolong with Jhentea in Yilan County, Taiwan? Yilan County, Taiwan, is the most famous for Oolong production. However, it is increasingly produced in other countries as well (we carry lovely Oolongs from Malawi and Indonesia). Many jokes abound when it comes to Oolong, such as “Move Oolong” and “Can’t we all just get Oolong”. However, making Oolong is NO joke! Those who produce this tea undergo very strenuous work and are considered “tea masters”. Tea Rebellion feels incredibly honoured and privileged to have learned first-hand about the art and challenges of making authentic Oolong through our partner farm, Jhentea.
Nepal has experienced complex political, democratic and social challenges (think caste system) that have evolved over the past 30 years. Upon our arrival, we had to quickly absorb the recent political history and turmoil the country has endured since before and after the tragic massacre of the royal family and King Birendra in June 2001. Despite the chaos and ridiculously frequent political leadership changes, there are amazing stories of social change and transformation happening in this country. The story of Kanchanjangha Cooperative set in the far East of the country is one such story…
Summer marks the beginning of beautiful warm weather accompanied by weekend family barbecues and patio parties. It is the time to be outdoors and relish the warm sunny weather while enjoying delicious food and refreshing cool iced beverages with the family! There is one homemade beverage that these family barbecues and parties cannot go without. Iced tea is an essential tasty cool beverage for the entire family to enjoy!
Historically speaking, brewed loose-leaf tea has not been positioned to specifically address the amazing fathers in our lives. But, why not? Well, advertisements initially targeted women in the 1950’s. Over the years there hasn’t been great effort to expand, until now. We are here to encourage all fathers, and men, to experience the tea rebellion too!
On Sunday May 27, Tea Rebellion will be embarking on an exciting two-week adventure across the globe to two of our partner tea farms. First stop, Taiwan! Ready to join us in the field? On May 28, fourth generation tea maker Ai Fang Kuei-Chen and her family of Jhentea will welcome us and educate us on all things tea. During our visit, we hope to wander around the tea gardens, refine our tea taste, and meet the tea farmers who grow the pure leaves. Jhentea will then skillfully make these leaves into our Forever Spring Oolong.
Sunday May 13, 2018 will mark the 104th year of a celebration called “Mother’s Day” in North America. Prior to this time, the ancient Greeks and Romans honored their mother goddesses, Rhea and Cybele, and the Christian’s established a festival known as “Mothering Sunday”. At Tea Rebellion, we want to take a remember the history of Mother's Day and why it was created, which is ultimately to honor the dedication and love of our mothers. A brief history of Mother’s Day Mother’s Day was created in the 1900s by a woman called Anna Jarvis. After her mother died in 1905, she made it her mission to have this celebration recognized as a national holiday. This fierce mission included seeking (and securing) financial backing for the first Mother’s Day celebration and shortly after that success, a massive letter writing campaign urging politicians to adopt this day as a national holiday. She was successful and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the holiday official, which was to fall on the second Sunday in May
We frequently drink tea; yet seldom consider how this consumption impacts our tea footprint. At Tea Rebellion, we have been mulling over how we can encourage the community to consider their tea footprint and strive to make it a positive one! What is a tea footprint? It is the impact that your tea purchases and consumption have on the environment. Tea Footprint Considerations: 1. Choosing teas that are responsibly sourced and shipped 2. Steeping method & sustainable use of tea bags It would not be fair to keep this fascinating information to ourselves, so we have created a quick glimpse into what we learned: It’s more than just tea in our shopping baskets…
Have you participated in a wine tasting session recently? Imagine having pristine glasses of wine in front of you and excitement building as you prepare to savour them. Then suddenly someone adds milk in one, sugar in the next and lemon in the third. “WHAT? DON’T RUIN THE TASTE” you would likely scream. Well, the same applies for tea. The more we add the less we taste. With “train your (tea) palate” we guide you through developing a tea palate that reveals the amazing
Do you consider yourself a well-informed tea drinker? But how much do you really know about your tea? Here's your task:10 questions that test your understanding of tea - the beverage, the industry and the history. Learn during which wars tea was used as a trade currency and what tea traditions ought to be broken. We at Tea Rebellion embrace the purity of single origin tea. We support direct trade. We believe in transparency from crop to cup (more). We invite you to join the rebellion for fiercely authentic tea
In tea, like in many other global commodities, standards around social and environmental sustainability have created awareness about practices on estates and plantations and led to some improvements. The key ones include Fairtrade, Ethical Tea Partnership, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and of course organic standards. Many of these are very well regarded, require certification by third parties and are mutually recognized between the standards. But for consumers the actual meaning of the labels remains unclear. Some certifications are misleading in that they only require a certain amount of certified product and still obtain the label. And information about the supply chain and tea origins is missing altogether. If these labels are so valuable, why is it that child labour was found on a Rainforest Alliance and Ethical Tea Partnership Certified farm? Why are big supermarkets like Sainsbury’s leaving the Fair Trade standard to set up their own ethical standard? Why is it that mostly large estates and plantations are on the list of Fair Trade and Organic certified estates while smallholders go all natural but choose not to certify? Why is it that t
Tea production output both in quantity and quality varies on a weekly and monthly basis. During British colonial rule, this gave rise to pricing through the auction system. Auctions still exist in former British colonies like India, Kenya, Malawi and many others. This system determines the price of tea from estate to estate on a day-to-day basis. Prices are set according to how broken the leaf is and the forces of supply and demand on that day. Approx 70% of Kenyan tea sales and more than 90% of Sri Lankan tea sales go through auctions today. Some people argue that it’s a transparent system. But with technological advances and the possibility of direct trading between buyers and sellers, this is becoming redundant. Direct sales using catalogue and real-time data benefit buyers by providing fresher, better-quality product. This also benefits producers through quicker payment, less uncertainty and savings on agent fees. Yet regulators still limit direct sales by law to 10 to 15% of overall output in countries like Kenya and Sri Lanka. The auction system is used a lot by large importers. Importers used to play an important role in ensuring supply for packers
In 1773 Bostonians protested “taxation without representation” by throwing tea into the harbour. Today the tea industry still holds onto old practices that lack transparency and obscure tea provenance. It’s time for another tea rebellion. Today, tea growers and workers face outdated tea-grading systems, challenging commodity markets and low prices. Their teas are blended together to produce the same old cups of tea over and over again. There are lots of environmental and social standards in place to inform consumers about the practices on tea estates — yet the practices of some larger fair trade certified estates, with their tied compensation, housing and land tenure for workers seem to contradict the