A team of Colorado social entrepreneurs announced the launch of Nepali Tea Traders, a company now selling premium and rare teas exclusively from small tea gardens in Nepal across the United States. The company is the first in America to offer a full range of specialty teas grown in Nepal. Twenty teas, including blacks, greens, oolongs, whites and other specialty teas and blends, some with organic certification, are now available to consumers and wholesalers online at NepaliTeaTraders.com.
“Nepal is one the poorest countries in Asia, and there are many serious needs that we’ve seen firsthand in Kathmandu and the rural areas”
The company was founded by Maggie Le Beau, a former business executive and adjunct professor at the University of Denver, whose family has been involved in philanthropic work in Nepal for 12 years. Nepali Tea Traders has made a commitment to the children of Nepal and is donating its profits to the Nepal Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides health care, education and social services to the children of Nepal.
“Although fine specialty teas have been grown in Nepal for decades, there has never been any significant export to the United States,” Le Beau said. “We saw an opportunity to introduce these exceptional teas to American consumers, which will, in turn, help the Nepalese tea farmers and suppliers develop a thriving and sustainable industry.”
Marty Kushner, one of America’s foremost tea experts, who has served as chairman of the Tea Association of the USA and past member of the U.S. Government Board of Tea Experts, said, “Nepal’s orthodox teas are some of the finest in the world—on par with the best Darjeelings. Historically, they haven’t been widely available in the United States. I believe that tea drinkers here will appreciate and enjoy the extensive selection of teas that Nepali Tea Traders now offers. Their launch is an exciting new development for the specialty tea drinkers here—and for the tea industry in Nepal.”
Nepali Tea Traders’ teas are grown in the Ilam region in Eastern Nepal in the foothills of the Himalayas at optimal altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. All of Nepali Tea Traders’ teas are grown on small tea farms and processed naturally without the use of chemicals, and many have already obtained their organic certification. “The higher the altitude, the slower the growth of the tea plants. The slower the growth, the finer the quality of the tea,” explained Kushner. “Tea drinkers will savor nature’s unhurried accomplishment in these Nepali teas.”
Additionally, Nepali Tea Traders offers teaware and accessories to make loose tea brewing easy as well as bagged teas for convenience and portability. The company also has a number of tea samplers for consumers who have never tried tea from Nepal as well as gift sets for the holiday season.
Le Beau said that growth in the specialty tea segment, which now reflects similar growth rates to specialty coffees, convinced her that the time was right to launch Nepali Tea Traders. “Increasingly, American consumers are interested in unique and delicious teas and in the health benefits of tea. There is also a growing interest in premium loose teas—which, like fine wines, have wonderful variations from season to season.”
According to the Tea Association of the USA, the U.S. tea industry has grown from under $2 billion in 1990 to more than $8 billion today. Sales of specialty teas, which the association describes as “an affordable luxury in good and bad business cycles,” is expected to grow between 5 to 8 percent this year.
Every purchase supports Nepal Youth Foundation
According to Le Beau, Nepali Tea Traders is going beyond equitable trade practices in its approach. “We are working to ensure fair wages, sustainable environmental practices and responsible working conditions for our farmers and tea workers—and doing far more,” she explained. “We’ve selected our business partners because they are investing in their people and operations—and we share their progressive vision of the potential of the tea industry to transform Nepal.
“Nepal is one the poorest countries in Asia, and there are many serious needs that we’ve seen firsthand in Kathmandu and the rural areas,” said Le Beau. “Our charitable contributions will begin with the Nepal Youth Foundation, which has done incredible work over the past 20 years. Every purchase from Nepali Tea Traders will help support this outstanding non-profit organization, which has earned its sixth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator for efficient use of donations.”
For more information on the Nepal Youth Foundation, please see nepalyouthfoundation.org.