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Young Mountain Tea Tales: Our Blog

Interview with Portland Tea Festival Founder Jenn Brenner - PDX Tea Fest

Interview with Portland Tea Festival Founder Jenn Brenner - PDX Tea Fest
How do tea festivals emerge?  Who are the visionaries behind these great tea assemblies that bring together entrepreneurs, educators, folk artists, and bother veteran and aspiring tea drinkers alike?  We reached out to Portland Tea Fest founder and organizer Jenn Brenner to learn a little more about the origins of one of the country’s newest festivals. Between cups of tea and preparing for this year’s event - she took the time to answer our questions.  Here is what she had to say: Continue reading

Meet Tinjure Tea Coop– Nepal’s First Cooperatively Run Factory

Meet Tinjure Tea Coop– Nepal’s First Cooperatively Run Factory
Just across the border from India’s acclaimed Darjeeling, Ilam is Nepal’s best-known tea producing area. On a clear day, one can see Mt Everest standing hundreds of miles away nestled among the other Himalayan high peaks. Since Nepal was never colonized, all of the tea production in this region has been self-organized, and as a result, Nepal has a higher number of cooperatively run factories than across the border in India. Continue reading

Himalayan Memories - My Trip to Taste Fresh Picked Nepali Tea

Himalayan Memories - My Trip to Taste Fresh Picked Nepali Tea
Every year members of Young Mountain Tea join guests as we travel meet our partners abroad and learn about all aspects of tea production in the field. Below are impressions from Lucas, Young Mountain Tea's Finance Director, as he describes his experience waking up in the Nepalese Himalayas, and visiting our partners at Tinjure. Continue reading

What Makes White Tea So Special?

What Makes White Tea So Special?
White tea is characterized as a tea that is not oxidized (meaning broken, bent or rolled) in any way. Therefore, great care must be taken when transporting the freshly picked green leaf from field to factory where it is withered and dried.  Continue reading

The Total Tea Man - An interview with Nigel Melican

The Total Tea Man - An interview with Nigel Melican
With 38 years of experience, Nigel Melican is one of the most accomplished tea professionals. With expertise in both the science and agricultural aspects of tea making to the technicalities of production, he has been a part of tea-related projects in 28 countries.  Continue reading

What makes Green Tea so good for you?

What makes Green Tea so good for you?
You may be one of the many people that dutifully drinks their cups of green tea because along the line you heard someone say “Green tea is so good for you”. If you were curious enough to ask why, you most likely got the response, “because of all the antioxidants!”  Continue reading

Women in Tea- Completely Managed and Operated Tea Factory Tea Studio

Women in Tea- Completely Managed and Operated Tea Factory Tea Studio
Vaideghi Kanan’s family has been involved with tea for decades. They grow the green leaf that is sold to one of the numerous tea production facilities in the Nilgiris. Many of the women who grow up in this region find themselves tending the terraced hill sides of tea plants, plucking leaves from the plants year-round in this prolific tea growing region. Continue reading

The Cup of Tea I Always Wanted to Drink - Young Mountain Loose Leaf Tea

The Cup of Tea I Always Wanted to Drink - Young Mountain Loose Leaf Tea

About four years ago I met Young Mountain Tea at a farmer’s market in Springfield Oregon. I had just wrapped up a season of harvesting seaweed along the California coast and was visiting a friend before trekking back to Minnesota for winter. As I walked through the late fall market something more unusual was illuminated amongst all the vegetables – a tea stand. Behind the candles flickering below the glass teapots stood Raj, founder of Young Mountain Tea. He happily welcomed people to his booth, pouring samples and speaking to the various teas with enthusiasm and care.

Raj and Ingrid, travel to India and Nepal

Over the past two years, I had spent time on both the east and west coasts learning about where food came from. In upstate New York, I spent time dabbling in vegetables, bees, and dairy while on the west coast I delved into permaculture, earthworks, and foraging. Despite covering a wide array of food and farming endeavors, one of my daily staples was missing from field and forest experience… and that was tea.

Up until this point, tea was a mystery to me. I knew I liked tea and preferred it to coffee. I often made a habit of going to the Asian grocery store buying teas with the most interesting names, or ones whose labels were in anything but English. I was well aware of the transformation the coffee industry was experiencing regarding direct-trade and total transparency in the supply chain – but did not see that mirrored in tea. Little did I realize that those flickering lights at the Young Mountain Tea table would be at the catalyst for that demystification.

Desmond birkbek and ingrid sharing a cup of tea, tea garden, india, sustainable, young mountain tea

I tasted every sample Raj offered as he described his experience with each grower, and how their teas were made. I learned that all tea came from the same plant and it was a matter of processing (among other factors) that accounted for their differences. I left that meeting with a bag of Indi’s Gold and returned to Minneapolis. Later, as the winter snows began to fall and my tea supplies needed replenishing, I emailed Raj with a proposition. “I think your teas would do really well in Minnesota. There are lots of people interested in socially responsible sourcing, and… it’s COLD here!” With that Raj and I decided to give tea sales in Minnesota a try. With no marketing experience - he sent me a kit of written materials, glassware, tea, a video clip of how he presented the teas, and with that, I became a traveling tea peddler of sorts.

Since then I have been working to bring Young Mountain Tea to tea drinker’s cups in the Midwest and around the US. My friends can hardly hide their surprise when they hear that their friend Ingrid, usually dabbling in gardening or sports, is doing SALES work. But I reassure them, “I don’t do sales … I do storytelling.”


Ingrid Remak ambushed by local news team to cover tea production and the market in the US

Since day one, sharing Young Mountain Tea has been an opportunity for me to participate in the timeless ritual of pouring tea for strangers. Every time a grocery manager or café owner agrees to sit down with me, I realize I am treated to a rare and precious exchange – 2 people carving out time in our busy days to give a moment to an unscripted meeting. Sure, we will of course talk about tea and the people who grow it, but with a warm cup in one’s hand, it is easy to talk beyond the tea and laugh about a mutual experience or empathize with a difficult day. And as tea contains L-theonine, an amino acid responsible for producing a calming and relaxing effect on the body, I also believe that these mid-day tea interludes are good for everyone’s balance and peace.

tea cupping and sniffing in india, at origin with young mountain tea

Young Mountain Tea has given me friends around the world, connection to my community, and a deeper knowledge of the world’s most consumed beverage after water. It is a pleasure to share Young Mountain Tea with you. I hope we all keep our cups full and continue to pour tea for dear friends, family, and the occasional stranger.

Continue reading