Leafbox Tea is dedicated to all things tea. More importantly, we believe that tea culture in America could use a boost.  There is so much about tea that we love and enjoy – and we want to share those things with you.  Now, we could see ourselves as yet another tea review blog, but there are tons of those out there.  There is even a place for everyone to review tea, so there is really no shortage of tea reviews on the Internet.

What the Internet really lacks, is a place that promotes tea and the cultural ideas around it.  We aren’t talking about the historical aspects or the importance of the origins of tea – we are interested in promoting a tea culture that is uniquely American. We believe that tea should be available and accessible to American tea drinkers, that loose leaf tea should be integral part of everyone’s day.   We want to be able to show that loose leaf tea can be just as convenient as tea bags (the most common way of preparing hot tea in the U.S. today).

Part of making tea culturally accessible to Americans is to remove the mythology and mysticism that goes with it.  We are not advocates of relaxing tea and ying-yang marketing.  We’ve often asked ourselves, “How did coffee get to be such a sexy and modern drink?”  Coffee breath stinks.  Tea is wonderful – the smells, the flavors, the richness, the variety.

Our view is perhaps best described by one of our founders:

When I think of tea, I don’t think of tea plantations, holistic rituals or detailed descriptions of taste, flavor, source and technique.  I tend to think more about a group of British gentlemen sitting around having tea (instead of scotch, for a change).  One of the men comments, “ah, this is a good cup.”  The host, a gentleman of some influence, humbly and simply says, “Thank you.” Nothing more.  There is no mention of type, or origin.  He doesn’t name drop the owner of the estate who sent it to him, nor the region of the world in which it was grown.  That would be arrogant and presumptuous.  Instead, he graciously accepts the compliment and allows the conversation to move on to more important matters like politics, current events, or any other topic of substance.  More important to him, among friends, is that they feel he is a good and gracious host, and the source of that good cup of tea.  He wants them to come back, visit with him again so that he can enjoy their company — and they, more tea.  He doesn’t want them running off and sending letters to the tea farmer asking for shipments.  Because he values his friends, and their company – he is humble and grateful.

To go on about the tea itself would make him a wonk, nerd or snob.  It shows that simply being a good host and serving good tea is not enough for him.  It makes him seem wanting of even more attention and focus than he has already received.  Tea is an accessory to good living, not a centerpiece of a gathering.  Good conversations are enhanced by the warmth of the cup, good books are further enjoyed by the stimulation of the liquid and good friends are brought closer by shared refreshment.  Most of the time tea is not about tea at all; but about the things we are doing while drinking it.

Peter Davenport
Editor, Leafbox Tea
Personal Journal