Fresh Cup

FEB 2013

Fresh Cup Magazine, providing specialty coffee and tea professionals with unique insight into the trends, ideas, products and people that shape their world.

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Page 58 of 70

THE WHOLE LEAF by Naomi Havlen PA M R O S E N F E L D / T WO L E AV E S T E A C O . Reclaiming the convenience of single-serve tea P ity the poor tea bag. Once beloved and regarded as ingenious upon its accidental invention approximately 110 years ago, the mention of tea in a convenient, ready-tobe-steeped package has become the anathema of self-proclaimed tea purists around the world. "Tea bags are gross—loose is the only way to go" is the sort of righteous proclamation you can find saturating tea blogs. What's a well-meaning tea company to do if it wants to offer consumers the convenience of pre-packaged tea, paired with the highest-quality tea available in whole-leaf form? Go ahead and scoff at our idealism, but at Two Leaves Tea Company we accept this challenge with pleasure. Since 2004, our company has been peddling real, whole-leaf tea in pyramidshaped sachets made of cornstarch-based nylon to anyone who will listen. Who else to better demonstrate that you can take an extraordinarily good cup of tea with you when you're heading out the door to take a hike or go for a bike ride than a bunch of tea fanatics who live in the mountains of Colorado? Our story is a simple one: Owner and founder Richard Rosenfeld was traveling the world for his housewares importing business and spent plenty of time in Southeast Asia, where doing business over a cup of tea is the usual order. He liked what he drank during those business meetings but had a difficult time finding tea he enjoyed when he got back to the States. While paper tea bags of inferior tea are ubiquitous, whole-leaf tea in its loose form isn't the best choice for someone who's always on the go but still wants to consume plenty of his favorite beverage, let alone prepare it properly. "I was bringing loose teas back home, and I rapidly realized how difficult it is to brew a good cup of tea, even from good loose tea," Rosenfeld says. And yet, he knew he couldn't turn to the substandard tea sold in paper tea bags. Tea bags weren't always so scrutinized. Tea and coffee shop merchant Thomas Sullivan of New York first successfully marketed paper tea bags in 1904; he meant for the loose tea to be removed from the small pouches before steeped in hot water, and yet his customers found that the tea would still steep, and quite neatly, when dunked directly into hot water, bag and all. It was, it turns out, just another convenience-minded invention—like microwaves and Post-it notes—that helped shape the quick-moving consumer society of today. To be sure, tea bags deserve their fair share of a bad rap. continued on page 58 56 Fresh Cup Magazine

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