• Amy

Making Tea In Uncertain Times

Updated: Feb 27

One of the loveliest aspects of life in Central Oregon is our vibrant local economy. Our sweet community nurtures our local businesses, while our businesses add value and texture to our lives. We gravitate toward handmade chocolate, local bakeries, and credit unions that help our investments stay here where we work and play.


This also means we are disproportionately affected by the economic shockwaves of this pandemic, as small businesses scramble to reimagine their retail spaces and rebrand to survive.


At Metolius Tea, one of our strengths is our ability to iterate. We are creative, resourceful, and pragmatic about change and its role in our lives. We know so many of you in our tea family are reimagining and reorganizing right now, and in the spirit of solidarity, we’d love to share what we’ve been doing to shift our business model to meet these new challenges.


The silver lining to living in a slower timeline is the opportunity to improve in a myriad of small ways; we are using this global crisis as an opportunity to pivot. We originally chose to package our tea in glass jars to represent our ethics: glass is sustainably produced and recyclable. It also represents transparency and honesty, which informs every decision we make, from how we manage our shop to how we source our ingredients.


However, we did not anticipate the financial or environmental cost of shipping heavy glass jars. We discovered that our retail sales suffered because customers are unwilling to pay $10 for a jar of tea and another $10 to have it shipped to them. Admittedly, when 90% of our business was with coffeeshops, this was not an issue we really noticed.


Now we are working to redesign our products to help us create sustainable packaging that represents our values, including minimizing shipping costs. Another small but mighty change that we’re proud of is shifting from bubble wrap to a recyclable double walled cardboard packing material to keep your tea safe in transit. Now, all our shipping supplies are 100% compostable.


One other change we’re looking forward to is the opportunity to communicate more with YOU. We’re taking more pictures, writing more notes, posting on social media, and committing to writing more blog posts. We love seeing our tea in the wild! If you snap a picture of your tea time, tag us so we can be part of your story too. These digital connections are more important than ever.


Living in Bend, we feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive and vibrant community to lean on. We’re grateful to every one of you, local or distant, who have continued to purchase tea.