“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” This quote from Margaret Mead is the opening statement on Arbor Teas‘ “About Us” page and it describes them to a tea. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the family-owned organic business is dedicated to turning their concern for environmental and social welfare into positive action. Every day, they embark on the same mission: to find the world’s most organic teas and to distribute them to the tea lovers’ cup as sustainably as possible.

How it all started

Arbor Teas has grown quite a bit, but it was a pretty modest start-up when it launched in 2004. (For example, their very first website was created in exchange for painting their friend’s kitchen!) Founded by Aubrey and Jeremy Lopatin, the company has progressed beautifully — now with a brand-spankin’ new website — and the vision is even stronger.

Quali-tea counts

If you’re a tea buff, then you know that quality is everything; you can easily tell the difference between a good brew and a bad brew with a simple little sip. Arbor Teas understands this and, as a result, goes through extensive comparative tastings whenever they introduce a new blend. If that new blend isn’t jiving and something seems amiss, they hold off until it’s perfect. Plus, who’s going to complain about more taste testing?

Since all of the products are certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program standards, you can rest assured that they’re all free of GMOs — even the facility itself is certified by the Global Organic Alliance.

understanding fair trade

A Fair Trade practice ensures safe working conditions. It ensures that wages meet or exceed established minimums, that farmers make a fair price for their product, and that there’s no child or forced labor. Further to that, Fair Trade premiums are invested back into communities in the form of health and housing improvements, schools, and scholarships. This is why Arbor teas seeks out only the best Fair Trade tea gardens — because they know that high-quality teas depend on the people that produce them and the environment in which they work. As a company who loves sourcing, distributing, and consuming tea, Arbor Teas takes responsibility in upholding that higher standard of living.

Saving our planet

Because Arbor Teas only sources certified organic teas and herbs, they’ve lowered the carbon footprint of the brew in their customers’ cups. By not using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs, organic tea production has way less impact on the environment. Not to mention the fact that it’s considered a rainwater plant, so it thrives off of rainfall and doesn’t depend on irrigation or processing water. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, Arbor Teas works closely with Carbon Fund to counteract the carbon emissions created in the process of transporting tea from its source to the facility in Michigan, where they’ve recently installed solar panels to participate in DTE Energy’s GreenCurrents program.

Compostable Packaging

That’s right — not biodegradable, but compostable. The packaging breaks down and provides valuable nutrients to the soil. So, when you take your used tea leaves out to your compost in the backyard, you take your package with you. It’s created from a cellulose film derived from wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed trees. The labels? They’re made up of sugar cane-based paper. Goodbye waste stream!

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