Nearly 10 years ago, we embarked on creating a different kind of tea company. The concept was initially more of an experiment. Could we produce herbal teas of exceptional flavor and beauty with local (California) herbs that we dried and milled ourselves... and make a business of it?
In our first year we formed relationships with local farms, found a production space and built our first herb drying room. As a two person team we procured fresh herbs (by the hundreds of pounds), dried them, milled them by hand, and packed them in retail bags to ship off around the country. Needless to say by the end of year 2 we were exhausted, but our little business had made a name for itself and word was getting out about these special packages of tea.
For us and our business to thrive we had to rethink how we were doing things while maintaining our devotion to the exceptional quality, flavor and beauty of our ingredients. We widened our sourcing circle and started working with herb farms not just in California, but across the country. Our criteria was that the farm had to cultivate remarkable herbs and have drying and milling capabilities on site. Little by little we found trusted farmers, tea blenders, and co-packers who could produce our product for us rather than keep these operations in house. Though we no longer ran an herb-processing factory, we still had the mind-bending job of projecting herb amounts for the entire year, orchestrating blending runs with ingredients coming from multiple sources, and making sure we were never sitting on too much inventory.