May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and one of the many ways we can all show our support is by uplifting AAPI-owned businesses. In celebration of this month, we want to spotlight some amazing AAPI-owned tea brands.
Tea has deep historical roots and cultural significance in Asian cultures. Legend has it that tea was first invented in China around 2700 BC when a few tea leaves fell into an emperor’s cup of boiling water. From its birthplace in China, tea then spread to Japan and Korea, and eventually the whole world. Innovation in tea production gave us black tea from China, matcha from Japan, masala chai from India, and so much more. We owe Asian cultures for the tea we all love and Asian immigrants for expanding tea’s popularity in the West.
Despite their role in its creation, for centuries, tea-farming communities in Asia were exploited in the tea trade by imperialist powers. Only relatively recently has the tea industry begun to diversify, and AAPI-owned tea companies have been able to offer ethically-grown, high-quality teas. This May, we honor the cultures and people that brought us tea, and the AAPI individuals who are reclaiming the tea business.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.
AAPI-Owned Tea Brands to Support
1. Nepal Tea
Nepal Tea Collective was founded by Nishchal Banskota in 2016. His father established Nepal’s first organic tea estate. His parents dedicated their lives to tea. In the Banskota household, there’s a running joke that every conversation is a tea conversation. If you happen to be around the Banskota house, especially in the mornings, you’ll be able to pick random tea facts just by the virtue of being in their vicinity.
Now with Nepal Tea Collective, Nishchal and his team bring unique stories of Nepali tea and all the wonderful people who live it to the world.
Check out these best-selling teas by Nepal Teas (Nepali Breakfast is a Sips by TEAm favorite!)
2. Miracle Tree
Miracle Tree is a family-owned superfood brand that focuses on sourcing quality herbal teas and powders that feature unique and attractive nutritional profiles. They are committed to socially and environmentally responsible sourcing and production and are organic certified.
Miracle Tree was founded by twin brothers (Karan and Kunal) who are both equally obsessed with moringa!
Heirloom Tea Co was founded by Henry Duong who found the inspiration for the company during a backpacking trip all around China after finishing university. While visiting the majestic tea fields above West Lake in Hangzhou, the mother of a family farm invited him in for a taste of their Long Jing (Dragonwell) tea - the quality and freshness of the cup she brewed was phenomenal and eye-opening. Henry realized that back home in the U.S. there weren’t many places to find artisan loose leaf teas, so he set out to create Heirloom Tea Co, aiming to provide tea lovers with the finest single-origin loose leaf tea, which have been thoughtfully curated to ensure quality.
4. Key to Teas
Founded by Naoko Tsunoda, Key To Teas is a woman-owned small business with a mission to create a modern-day tea culture by delivering the highest quality and innovative specialty loose-leaf teas. Key To Teas is also rooted in a social responsibility mission to advocate for women's empowerment and children in underserviced communities. The Founder was a refugee orphan, having had the privilege of being adopted into a loving family and given the tremendous opportunity to thrive in life. They are committed to giving back 1% of company sales to social causes and organizations that are aligned with their mission and values.
Check out these best-selling teas by Key to Teas (Double Chocolate Peppermint is a Sips by TEAm favorite!)
Sipping Streams Tea Company founder, Jenny Tse, was born in Hong Kong, but raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. She spent her summers selling her mother's vegetables at the local farmer's market and was very active in the local community. Her vision for Sipping Streams began the summer of 2004 when she began to notice how tea brought different people together. Traveling to different tea farms in China encouraged her to teach about tea in her local community.
Sipping Streams Tea Company specializes in high-quality loose leaf tea and tea education. Every blend is handcrafted and curated to be unique and fresh. Sourcing directly from all over the world, customers appreciate the significant quality difference.
Founded by two sisters, Minji and Jahee, Teasom shares the joy and refreshing taste of artisanal iced teas. While growing up in Korea, they drank teas daily as an alternative to water. There was always a pitcher of iced tea ready at home. This passion for tea led Minji to later train to become a Tea Sommelier. With Jahee, who has a culinary and hospitality background, the sister duo began to combine their skills. Together, they started serving up the tastiest iced teas in Dallas. Teasom is always brewing up different ways to increase eco-consciousness and all of their teas bags are 100% compostable.
Check out these best-selling teas by Teasom (Just Peachy is a Sips by TEAm favorite!)
Interested in trying these teas and others? Subscribers receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscriptions.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.