Feeling thanks for my family, friends, and customers right now. Big Heart Tea Co. is set to embark on its first sourcing trip in less than one week! Heading to India for 12 days to meet with potential (and hopefully future) sourcing partners. I’ll be traveling with tea friend and boss babe Elyse Petersen from Tealet, who will be showing me the ropes as I take a deeper dive into ethical commodities trading.
Since the very beginning of my career in tea, ingredient sourcing has been the biggest pain point. I mean, we're using these herbs to heal us in a very intimate way, yet all we know is their country of origin and quality information provided in the form of lab reports. Isn’t it important that we know our medicine is being grown and harvested in a way that is cool? Like, sustainably and ethically?
Don’t get me wrong. Traceability is nothing new. Consumers demanded more transparency from the coffee industry in the early-2000’s, and now we all know the farmers that harvest our beans or at least have access to the info, if that’s your thing. Though not as grand in scale, tea traceability is also available to small buyers and sellers. In fact, Big Heart Tea Co.’s black and green tea lines, including our Malawi #413 Iced, are all sourced from small-scale farmers that we know meet our standards. But herbs?
Like a typical entrepreneur who encounters a roadblock to the end goal, I bought a ticket to India. Haha. But really! Traceability in herbs is a thing that Big Heart Tea Company aspires to so I’m doing it, going myself to find that perfect ingredient that matches our high bar for ethics in trade and agricultural responsibility.
Big Heart Tea Company is launching its direct-sourcing efforts with its three most commonly-used (and super sexy) herbs: turmeric, ginger, and tulsi. We’ll be touring Ayurvedic farms and meeting workers in the Northwest region of West Bengal, near Darjeeling and the southern border of Nepal.
Transparency, traceability, whatever — going there! Wish me luck!