For The Love of Earl Grey
Amy, Metolius Tea’s founder, began her tea journey not in British parlours or at the tea tables of Chinese tea masters, but in the forests, rivers, and deserts of Oregon’s rich and diverse landscapes. Metolius Tea was born the day we designed our Earl Grey in 2011.
While Amy was studying herbalism and honing her skills as a tea maker, she noticed the conspicuous absence of a well crafted, quality earl grey. Since she couldn’t find it, she had to make it: hand-picked leaf and bud Yunnan black tea, bergamot essential oil from select Italian orchards, sustainable Madagascar vanilla bean, and bright, beautiful organic bachelor’s buttons - all farm direct from small production farmers. We have been developing farm direct relationships and designing beautiful teas ever since.
Metolius Earl Grey
92 tea blends. Lots of headaches.
Less Is More
As business picked up, industry veterans touted the path to 'success' was offering an ever growing assortment of teas. It was (and still is) not unusual for established tea suppliers to offer hundreds of different tea blends for sale.
Naturally, Metolius needed more tea blends. Thus Metolius went into a tea blending frenzy, developing 92 tea blends within the first three years. However, as order volume grew, ingredients were seemingly always out-of-stock causing a myriad of production headaches.
Then, one afternoon, a sales report was pulled. Following the classic Pareto Principle, over 80% of business was coming from a handful of tea blends. It was this moment that sparked a pivot. Today, Metolius Tea offers 10-15 incredible loose leaf teas with our six best sellers in sachets.
A Chai Is Born
Chai, an early Mandarin word for tea, is commonly used to refer to black tea mixed with sugar, spices and milk. In early 2018, the partners at Metolius couldn't connect, try as they may, with other chai products on the market. So, much like the origin of Earl Grey, Metolius set out to set things right.
After brewing hundreds of small batches of chai, Metolius Chai was born in October of 2018 and was as close to an instant success as could be hoped for. Metolius Chai is an all organic, creamy elixir of cardamom, fresh ginger, and cracked pepper, velvety sweet, handsomely caffeinated, with warming notes of cinnamon and cayenne. It hits the sweet spot with well rounded spice and a satisfying long ginger finish.
Many people are misinformed and believe that chai is an ancient Indian tradition, we find its true history much more compelling: chai is a product of colonialism, resistance, and creative adaptation. We'd encourage you to read our short post on the history of chai.
Early Metolius Chai production line.
For Coffee Shops
The wholesale tea membership was a hit.
In late 2019, pre-pandemic, Metolius Tea made another discovery. There was no wholesale tea company with a product offering designed for wholesale customers. Sure, lots of tea companies sell wholesale, but it was a secondary concern at best.
Seeing this unserved need in the market, Metolius Tea moved to strategically develop a more holistic wholesale tea offering for coffee shops. In quick succession we launched Metolius Chai, improved our Metolius Matcha, rolled out a stunning line of sweet specialty syrups plus gourmet oatmeal to boot. All our new products are bundled in our Wholesale Membership, which provided free shipping nationwide on all wholesale tea orders.
The pivot once again was timely. With the global pandemic hitting the coffee and tea industry fast and hard Metolius was able to simplify logistics for our wholesale tea customers by providing more than just tea while lowering their shipping costs.
While 2020 was a roller coaster of a year, in the end Metolius Tea found market fit and grew with our commitment to helping coffee shops do what they do best, coffee, while simultaneously improving their auxiliary tea and beverage service. We love these win-wins!
Tea For The Home
It has been said, necessity is the mother of innovation and we couldn't agree more. In April 2020, one thing was very clear: coffee shops were going to be closed and we didn't know for how long. Complementing our pivot to becoming the leading wholesale tea supplier in the US market, Metolius was jolted into the realization that we needed to work on our direct tea sales channels.
Thus was the genesis of our monthly newsletter with exclusive discounts for our subscribers. Then came the launch of two subscription tea boxes followed by the launch of our Amazon store with free shipping on our most popular products.
While wholesale tea remains our focus, we saw retail sales grow 2X in 2020, which was a large contributor to the health of the company. Thank you Metolius Tea fans, we love you!
Early marketing for our subscription tea box.
Thank You Tea Friends
At Metolius Tea we design, blend and brew beautiful teas in small batches. We work with farmers who further our vision for economic, environmental, and social justice. We believe in being a dependable partner and help all those around us flourish.
From our workshop in Bend, Oregon, we aim to be the most respected wholesale tea supplier and online retailer of organic teas, but we know we always have more to improve on.
As we look forward, we're excited to accept the challenge of making our packaging more beautiful and more sustainable. We'll be working in the shop to upgrade our production lines for faster and more safe operations. And we'll be working to share more of our tea with those around us.
Thank you dearly for being part of the Metolius Tea story. Our journey is only just beginning and we're filled with gratitude for all the help we've had along the way. Here is to our mutual success and future endeavors!
2019 local Bachelor Button farm field trip