Rishi Tea was founded on the commitment to set the standard for quality and expand the awareness of tea and its rich, inspirational tradition. We offer superb loose-leaf tea imported directly from tea gardens across Asia, made according to ancient artisanal practices using organic cultivation techniques and Fair Trade standards. From our modest beginnings over ten years ago to becoming an established leader in the specialty tea market, our mission has never wavered.
Rishi Tea began in 1997 when Joshua Kaiser, founder and tea buyer, recognized that the traditional handcrafted teas he grew so fond of during his travels in Asia were rarely available elsewhere. Joshua felt that North American consumers would embrace artisan tea as they did single origin coffee and fine varietal wine if they were given access to it at reasonable prices. He believed the same gourmet consumer who was willing to learn the difference between a Costa Rican coffee and an Indonesian coffee, as well as develop a refined palate for wine, was also ready to appreciate the natural complexity and flavors of premium tea.
Rishi Tea’s commitment to sustainability is a core company philosophy that stems from the organic tea gardens where our teas are harvested. Our firsthand experience in many tea-growing regions led to our heightened awareness of the dire need for social responsibility. Rishi Tea was among the first to earn organic certification under the USDA’s Natural Organic Program in November of 2002 and at the forefront in the advancement of Fair Trade Certified tea, becoming one of the highest payers of social premiums from the sale of Fair Trade tea. The TransFair USA Fair Trade Certified projects with which Rishi partners directly support a better life for the tea-farming families and their communities through fair prices, fair wages, safe working conditions, environmental sustainability, education and community development.
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