Updated 2/27/2021 (see bottom).
Metolius Tea stands for clean, honest tea, respecting the history, past and present, of the tea itself, the farmers who raise the crops and the customs unique to each culture who value the tradition of tea around the world.
To this end, there are five things Metolius Tea will never do or claim:
We will never use the phrase "Sip the Sensation."
We will never certify organic, as long as it cuts us off from the small farmers who use the best organic practices.
We will never refer to a plant, person, or place as "exotic."
We will never use synthetic flavoring. I used it when I started my company because I thought I had to compete with the "Pina Colada Bliss Exotic Nights" teas on the market. As I learned about natural and artificial flavoring, I changed my mind. The FDA casts a very wide net around the word "natural." Outside of my company, I am not a purist. I'll eat a Reese's Peanut Butter cup if it is thrown my way. But tea is an every day act. My tea is a tribute to the fact that plants are still good all by themselves--no cover up, no amplification, no modification, no addictive chemistry shenanigans. Plants, well grown and well crafted into tea and tea blends, are good enough for me and good enough for you.
We will never tell you that a tea or herb will make you lose weight. Except that one plant, as my friend Howie Brounstein says, that grows way up on the top of a hill, and you have to climb up and down that hill every day to harvest its fresh leaves.
Six years and one day to the date we originally published this post, we had a little chuckle re-reading this little tea journal snippet. And while we stand behind our original list above, we felt it important to add a short addendum as in the coming months we will be certifying our first product, Metolius Chai, as USDA Organic.
We've learned a lot over the past six years and we're as committed as ever to small farmers, direct sourcing and the belief that 'organic certifications' aren't all they are cracked up to be. That said, we do recognize they can have a place.
For Metolius Chai, we've always used all organic sources and given its meteoric rise in our product line from new kid on the block to 60%+ of our business in just two short years, we felt this would be a positive move for our customers and business. We are asked regularly if our chai concentrate is organic. Given it is and always has been, so we're taking this step to be more clear about this fact on our Metolius Chai label. Our updated labels will roll out with the new USDA Organic seal in mid-2021.
While there has been internal discussion with our team to potentially certify several other products in the future, we're firmly committed to only certifying products organic if it does not compromise our farm direct sources. As such, while the vast majority of our ingredients are already certified organic, we don't anticipate we'll ever certify most of our products as 'organic'.
The process of certifying Metolius Chai as organic has only crystalized our understanding of just how burdensome and costly it is for small farmers and small businesses, like Metolius Tea, to manage. Organic certifications are bad, but they are also a far cry from being the gospel truth on what products are clean and healthy.
As always, Metolius Tea continues to be committed to sourcing and supporting farm-direct tea gardens, small family-owned farms and co-ops around the globe who practice clean, sustainable farming.