For the Love of Earl Grey
Amy, Metolius Tea’s founder, began her tea journey not in British parlors or at the tea tables of Chinese tea masters, but in the forests, rivers, and deserts of Oregon’s rich and diverse landscapes.
Amy found her path as a tea maker the day she designed our Earl Grey. She had noticed the conspicuous absence of a well crafted, quality earl grey. Since she couldn’t find it, she had to make it: hand-picked leaf and bud Yunnan black tea, bergamot essential oil from select Italian orchards, sustainably harvested Madagascar vanilla bean, and bright, beautiful organic bachelor’s buttons - all farm direct from small production farmers.
We have been developing farm direct relationships and designing beautiful teas ever since.
A note from Amy on how we got our name...
"Metolius Tea got its name later. Our first company name was Lovely Goat Plant Medicine. When I approached a local resort about serving our tea in their restaurant, the owner, (who a few years later would introduce me to my husband and officiate our wedding) communicated to me in a series of Dutch swear words that we had better change the name if I wanted our tea at his restaurant. So we came up with a new name. Water is essential to tea. I used to drive to Sisters, Oregon once a week to bring tea to local cafes. I would keep on driving out to the Metolius River, where I'd jog along the river, making wishes, being with the grand old Ponderosas, cataloging the medicinal plants along the river's edge -- rose, Oregon grape, elder.... While I did just change the name so somebody would buy my tea, Metolius has come, like a river, to represent both where we came from and where we are going. While we have stayed “plant-forward,” true to our organic roots, we have grown into a company with viable goals to enrich our world with our work and through our products."
A Chai Is Born
In 2017, we reached another pivotal milestone: our chai was born. Similar to our adventures in Earl Grey, we could not find a chai we truly loved, despite how much we loved each traditional chai spice individually. Most chai in the American circuit was too sweet, barely flavorful, and far too clove-forward.
Amy says she spent one crazed year designing the chai. "I filled a pink notebook with hundreds of drafts, research on solubility chemistry and aromatics, and drawings of processes. Finally, in October of 2018, in my final months of refining the recipe, we took a leap of faith and took our first wholesale chai customer."
Metolius Chai was an instant success, completely transforming the company.
Metolius Chai is an all organic, creamy elixir of cardamom, fresh ginger, and cracked pepper, velvety sweet, handsomely caffeinated, with warming notes of cinnamon and cayenne. It hits the sweet spot with well rounded spice and a satisfying long ginger finish.
Many people are misinformed and believe that chai is an ancient Indian tradition, we find its true history much more compelling: chai is a product of colonialism, resistance, and creative adaptation. We'd encourage you to read our short post on the history of chai.
Original Metolius Chai design notes
Wholesale Tea for Coffee Shops
In late 2019, pre-pandemic, Metolius Tea made a commitment. We felt there were no tea companies with product offerings designed for wholesale customers, especially quality-focused coffee shops. Sure, lots of tea companies sell wholesale, but not with holistic support for their needs. Plus, we just love baristas and coffee culture!
Seeing this unserved need in the market, Metolius Tea moved to strategically develop a more holistic wholesale tea offering for coffee shops. In quick succession we launched Metolius Chai, improved our Metolius Matcha, and rolled out a stunning line of sweet specialty syrups. All our new products are bundled in our Wholesale Membership, which provides nationwide free shipping as well as all the necessary tea tools, menus, storage jars, and employee trainings.
The wholesale tea membership was a hit.
Tea for the Home
In April 2020, one thing was very clear: coffee shops were going to be closed and we didn't know for how long. Metolius tea fans had no idea how to get their favorite teas! We were jolted into the realization that we needed to work on connecting with retail customers directly. But yikes! We have been shy and hiding behind a nationwide team of charismatic baristas for 10 years!!
Up until Covid, we had packaged our tea in environmentally friendly glass. But it was expensive to ship and deterred website customers. When Covid hit we knew we needed to get tea, comfort, into people's homes. We immediately redesigned our packaging to be BOTH eco friendly and cheap to ship. We also came out of our hiding place and started talking with customers directly, launching our monthly newsletter with exclusive discounts for our subscribers, and then we launched our Amazon store with free shipping.
While wholesale tea remains our focus, retail sales literally saved us in 2020. Thank you Metolius Tea fans, we love you!
Thank You Tea Friends
At Metolius Tea we design, blend and brew beautiful teas in small batches. We work with farmers who further our vision for economic, environmental, and social justice. We believe in being a dependable partner and help all those around us flourish.
From our workshop in Bend, Oregon, we aim to be the most respected wholesale tea supplier and online retailer of organic teas, but we know we always have more to improve on.
As we look forward, we're excited to accept the challenge of making our packaging more beautiful and more sustainable. We'll be working in the shop to upgrade our production lines for faster and more safe operations. And we'll be working to share more of our tea with those around us.
Thank you dearly for being part of the Metolius Tea story. Our journey is only just beginning and we're filled with gratitude for all the help we've had along the way. Here is to our mutual success and future endeavors!