Given the particular and passionate nature of what we do, we are very selective over who we partner with and how many partners we take on. That said, when a partnership begins, we are committed to going the distance: making sure your tea program is all you envision it could be for the long run. Take a cursory glance at our list of our friends in Specialty Coffee and Hospitality and you'll notice it doesn't change often. We like to think there's a reason for that.
Filtering by Tag: wholesale tea chicago
When you are a Spirit Tea Partner, you are afforded some of the most continuing, dedicated service in the industry. You'll enjoy 24/7 access to our Wholesale Portal: a live-updated collection of our ever-rotating selection of fresh, seasonal teas from around the globe. You'll also get exclusive information on each of our offerings, news and announcements and access to Partner-unique pricing. With Spirit, launching a new tea program is just where it starts.
Each of our teas has a human being behind it. Many are the carriers of traditions stretching back generations. Year round, we travel to origin to visit our producers, source new lots and learn from those behind the styles we carry in the hope that we can honor the whole story. Each of our selections come from a specific time and place optimal to the appreciation of that style. We seek out the most uncanny leaves, with the most striking characteristics in the belief that the wild can sometimes be the most enticing gateway into another world. We rotate selections seasonally to keep our Compendium fresh and compelling. Tea, like wine and coffee, is an agricultural product, inseparable from the climate, land and weather conditions that created it.
We dream of a true American tea culture. We offer unparalleled service, training, and education in order to build strong relationships within our community. This level of partnership also ensures the telling of each tea's story and preserves the end experience of tea ritual. We want to be the catalyst for furthering the craft of tea, including providing the education for appreciation and a tireless thirst for changing the way people prepare and enjoy tea leaves in the twenty-first century—tea’s sixtieth century with humanity.
At S P I R I T, we often disparage the perfectly normal tea types that happen to lie outside of our ethos. Flavored teas, teas that are blends with non-tea ingredients and even (for a different reason) scented teas. Most major tea companies make their millions selling just what I've described. But few titles escape the fury of our lips so often as Earl Grey.
Most of its legend is nonsense. And, for what it's worth, orientalist. According to the most popular legend, white savior Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, saved a hapless mandarin's son from drowning during his time in China. The mandarin was so grateful that he sent a shipload of black tea to England, blended with Bergamot for flavor and preservation in the long overseas voyage. In addition to the fact that Charles Grey never went to China, bergamot doesn't grow in China and a mandarin would never have the financial resources to charter a trade ship to England—the whole story reeks of Western exceptionalism.
And if you've ever seen an actual bergamot in your life or even know what one is, I commend you. The worst part of earl grey is, it is always artificial. Unfortunately, someone didn't just juice fresh bergamot over your tea leaves. That was done with chemical oils. Most tea companies use these chemical additives which come in giant plastic containers with warning labels printed over the sides. When a little oil leaks over the lid it stains the label and the plastic permanently.
Some of these companies have labeled it "Natural Earl Grey flavor" or "Natural Bergamot flavor" but nothing could be more misleading or untrue.
So when most people taste black teas like our Qi Lan, which we've affectionately dubbed "true earl grey", which express strong citrus character—without the aid of chemicals or flavorings, only the natural beauty of the leaf and the land and people behind it—people either find it "light" (compared to the lab engineered synthetic flavoring they're accustomed to) or are amazed to learn that the leaf can possess such naturally beautiful characteristics. Tasting and appreciating a leaf for its simple, understated beauties is a process that takes patience.
As you can see, we get a little irked when it comes to public lies of the tea industry like this. Not just because it hurts our young business, but because we believe passionately in what we do—and that tea is first and foremost a story of the earth.
But that's why we're here. To drink tea with you.