We recently discussed why we source our teas from Africa, but we thought it’d be a good idea to dive deeper into what that means for our partners as producers, for us as manufacturers/ distributors and for our customers as consumers.
The world is more interconnected than it ever has been in history. Producers, sellers, and consumers are intricately linked, regardless of the product. When we buy a product—be it tea, coffee, fresh vegetables, a microwavable meal, or a smartphone—it often travels through an intricate supply chain that touches a number of producers, buyers, and sellers before it eventually arrives in the consumer’s hands.
Each step a product takes to go from producer to consumer has an economic impact for the buyer, the seller, and their respective local communities. That includes paying salaries to workers, paying taxes to local, regional, and federal governments, and supporting whatever production processes that are required to make those products.
When we look at something complex like a smartphone, which uses thousands of small pieces from computer processors to tiny screws, the supply chain is vast and complex. Frequently, it also includes extracting resources, such as copper, using methods that are both destructive to the earth and unhealthy for the workers doing the extraction. When we’re talking about something more straightforward like tea, that often means supporting large scale industrial farming from companies that have horrible human rights records and serious environmental impact. Sadly, most commercially sold tea is produced under less than optimal working conditions.
This is why it’s essential to Cured Leaves Tea to source all our teas from ethical farms that grow their teas organically. The farms we work with rely on other small farms to source herbs and fruit used in their blends. By purchasing, producing, and selling these teas, we are helping to keep small farms in business.
This has profound effects on the quality of life for these farmers and their families, eliminating food insecurities for families, and creating opportunities for children to get an education. For example, we work with a farm in Rwanda that is run by a group of women that survived the Rwandan genocide. They use the money earned from selling their teas to help take care of their village, buying food and other necessities. And by purchasing their products, we are encouraging and promoting women entrepreneurship in an area of the world where women generally do not have many economic options.
When we deliver these teas to our customers, they receive a fresh, premium product that was cultivated with care and love from rich and dense soils of Africa. Our products are touched by hand, some are hand twisted or hand rolled by local workers. We call this “From soil to cup” because the process is delicate and nurtured with the intent for the consumer to have a satisfying, even indulgent, drinking experience.
At Cured Leaves Tea, we are striving to be the top source of premium African teas globally, while bringing awareness to the African tea industry. We believe that by being the conduit that connects our customers to the people who produce our teas, we are creating the types of economic impacts that have meaning—for the producers, for consumers, and for us.